PUI has a long history innovating with piezoelectricity

PUI Audio has a long history with piezoelectric components, and while piezo electricity has been a large part of our past, this technology is also a big part of our future. 

We started our innovation journey in 1976 with the industry’s first PCB mounted piezo ceramic audio indicator!

When you combine these terms, a PCB-mounted piezo ceramic audio indicator refers to a component that is designed to be mounted directly on a printed circuit board and is capable of generating audio signals using the piezoelectric properties of ceramics. This component is often used to provide audio feedback or alerts in various electronic devices, ranging from household appliances to industrial equipment and consumer electronics.

Since then, piezotronics have been a big part of the product catalog we offer at PUI Audio, and we are committed to expanding and integrating piezoelectric solutions with audio transducers, benders, microphones, ultrasonic, speakers, haptics product line to meet various application needs.

PUI Audio offers not only buzzers but also sensors and actuators based on piezoelectricity. 

For example, you can find our Simple self driven Piezo Indicators  or our Externally driven Piezo Transducers among our digital product catalog. 

And we continue to innovate!

Our new cutting-edge applications, including piezo haptics and lead-free piezo benders are in development and have launched throughout the year. Lead-free applications and options continue to meet important compliance regulations as they change to phase out lead-inclusive options. Our engineers and product development teams have been working to stay ahead of this curve by developing solutions that do not compromise quality as technology and restrictions change. This work will enable our customers to continue to stay in front of regulations as well. 

Curious to learn more about piezoelectronics? Our engineering team is eager to have a conversation with you and help brainstorm solutions for your latest projects. Reach out, and let’s start a conversation. You can chat with an engineer right here on our website, here. 

Piezoelectric technology continues to push the industry forward

It may surprise you to know that Piezoelectric technology discovered more than 100 years ago is also at the cutting edge of the technology advancements we see today. Just over a hundred years ago by the Curie brothers, Pierre and Jaques, who leveraged the discovery to set in motion the technology that still today is pushing innovation forward, allowing for product engineers to develop new and creative solutions. 

The piezoelectric effect is the ability of certain materials to generate an electric charge in response to applied mechanical stress. This unique phenomenon of materials to convert between mechanical and electrical energy continues to be a valuable area of research and innovation.

Today, we see the advantages of this technology play a big role in how engineers create a clear impact within a small space. 

Piezoelectric material can generate a small voltage when subjected to mechanical force, as in the case of sensors like microphones. The reverse piezoelectric effect, where applying a voltage to the material generates physical motion, is a crucial aspect that has been leveraged for applications such as haptic feedback in devices like touchscreens.

In the world of product development, creating a seamless and immersive user experience is a top priority for manufacturers. To achieve this, the integration of cutting-edge technologies is essential, and one such innovation making waves is piezoelectric haptics. Piezoelectric haptic technology, based on the reverse piezoelectric effect, has revolutionized the way products interact with users, offering tactile feedback and a sense of realism like never before.

In consumer electronics, piezoelectric haptics have made significant strides. From smartphones and tablets to gaming controllers and wearables, piezoelectric haptic actuators add a realistic touch to virtual interactions. By providing subtle vibrations during touch interactions, users experience a heightened sense of responsiveness, making their digital experiences feel more natural and engaging.

For instance, in mobile gaming, piezo haptics can simulate the recoil of a gun or the sensation of acceleration in a racing game, creating a more immersive gameplay experience. Similarly, in smartphones, piezoelectric haptic feedback enhances the feel of typing on a virtual keyboard, giving users the sensation of pressing physical keys.

The advantages of using piezoelectric technology is clear, whether that be within our simplest of piezoelectric technologies, the piezo bender, or within our new cutting-edge applications, including piezo haptics and lead-free piezo benders. For more information about piezoelectric technology, check out our Resource Library for our technical whitepaper on the subject, or schedule time to speak with one of our engineers to start brainstorming applications. 

PUI Engineers finding solutions with environmentally-rugged products

As our world becomes more connected and mobile, the demand for audio components that can withstand harsh environmental conditions is on the rise. Engineers are finding new and innovative ways to monitor environments and new needs are arising for components that can withstand extreme weather conditions or have the ability to output high-quality sound in the great outdoors. Environmentally-rugged audio components are becoming increasingly important.

At their core, environmentally-rugged audio components are designed to withstand a variety of environmental conditions, including extreme temperatures, moisture, and vibrations. These components are often used in industries such as aerospace, military, and marine, where ruggedness is crucial for reliable and safe operation.

In recent years, the demand for environmentally-rugged audio components has expanded beyond these traditional industries and into consumer markets, as more and more people seek to enjoy high-quality sound in outdoor and other harsh environments. This has led to the development of rugged audio components that are specifically designed for outdoor environments.

One key feature of environmentally-rugged audio components is their construction. These components are typically built with materials such as high-grade plastics, rubber, and metal, which can withstand exposure to the elements without degrading or failing. Additionally, many environmentally-rugged audio components are sealed to protect against moisture and dust, further increasing their durability.

Another important aspect of environmentally-rugged audio components is their ability to maintain high-quality sound in challenging environments. This requires advanced engineering and design, as well as the use of high-quality components such as speakers, amplifiers, and connectors. Many rugged audio components also include features such as noise-canceling technology, which helps to improve sound quality in noisy environments.

As more people seek to enjoy high-quality sound in harsh environmental conditions, environmentally-rugged audio components are becoming increasingly important These components are built to withstand exposure to the elements, and often include advanced engineering and design features to maintain high-quality sound. Whether you’re an engineer, an audio enthusiast, or simply enjoy spending time outdoors, environmentally-rugged audio components can help you develop audio systems that operate to your standards in even the toughest environments.

For more information on environmentally-rugged products at PUI, reach out. Let’s start a discussion about what will work for you. Chat with an engineer today, and we’ll start brainstorming. 

PUI Enhances Focus on Environmentally-Rugged Lines to Withstand the Elements

Audio components can be small, but they can also be fierce, and at PUI, we put special consideration into our environmentally-rugged lines that help engineers and project managers implement audio solutions in conditions that might scare away most technology manufacturers. 

A lot of times, project engineers don’t know what they need when they set out to solve a problem, but our engineers work with clients one-on-one to solve problems with components that can stand up to even the most rugged environmental conditions. 

Because, when it needs to be heard…or measured…or alerted…it doesn’t matter if it is in rain, wind, under water, or in abnormally high temperatures, PUI helps teams to implement the solutions that get the job done, regardless of conditions. 

That’s why we’ve put special focus on environmentally-rugged lines to withstand all the elements, including earth, air, fire or water. That means our components can stand up to rougher weather conditions, no matter which element–or combination of elements could affect the quality of sound. 

Hi-temp components – PUI Audio high-temperature audio speakers and high-temperature audio receivers that can withstand temperatures beyond normal ranges, meaning that components can be placed in areas outdoors or within other components or mechanisms that heat up as part of their everyday use.

Waterproof and water-resistant components – Audio components are being deployed within industries where components may need to be submerged partially or underwater full time in order to measure, record or alert. Industrial settings are using audio components to measure flow and water levels, and while this is an innovative use of components beyond typical use, components must also be able to withstand the rigors of wet conditions. 

High-definition components – PUI Audio has made significant strides in the use of high-definition audio components, and while at first glance, this might not seem like part of our environmentally-rugged lines, think about how weather conditions like wind or earth, mountains, valleys, foliage and other types of interference could affect the quality of sound. High definition components are able to zero in or extract specific sounds in ways that no other components can, removing obstacles, such as the naturally-occurring environment from being a hurdle to success. 

PUI Audio components are designed thoughtfully to fit into whatever project you are working on, so the best solution is always in reach. Some of our best solutions come from conversations with clients who don’t know what they need, but help our engineers paint a better picture of what they are up against. The more information we have up front, the better and easier it is to identify which types of environmentally-rugged components are needed to complete a project. 

That’s why we always work with engineers and project managers from the beginning to make sure we identify potential problems up front and select components that keep projects and audio clean. We pride ourselves on offering “audio enhanced with expertise,” which means you can count on us to identify the problems–and solve them–before your project even starts. 

Look for more information about our environmentally-rugged lines on the PUI website. Browse products, discuss solutions and explore our resources for deeper dives into the potential of innovative audio solutions. 

Innovations in ultrasound are pushing PUI Audio customers into new territory

Our tagline at PUI is When it needs to be heard. What happens, though, when it can’t be heard, but needs to work anyway?

Our engineers are immersing themselves in new products that tap into the capabilities of ultrasonic transmissions for the purpose of using audio in new and innovative ways. Ultrasonic makes for a challenging design because the output can’t be heard at normal frequencies, but the possibilities are limitless. 

Think about bats. Bats use ultrasonic transmissions to feel the world around them with exact accuracy. The animals produce ultrasonic sound waves and those sound waves bounce off objects in their environment. Then, the sounds return to the bats’ ears, which are finely tuned to recognize their own unique calls and provide the data to map the environment around them. 

Similarly, PUI engineers are helping our customers develop audio systems for real-world solutions to mapping the environment in useful and actionable ways.

One example is found in the auto industry, where ultrasonic sensors are used for moving vehicle backup alarms, letting drivers know what is behind them and when it is too close. 

Ultrasonic audio components are also used in industrial settings, helping to provide actionable measurements. PUI Audio customers are using the technology in new ways and pushing the technology forward. For example, one customer is using ultrasonic to measure the fill levels in dumpsters, while another is using it to measure flow and speed of water through pipes. 

The use of ultrasonic components helps provide not only the accurate measurements, but also the ability to measure through ongoing adaptable analytics that provide real-time changes and historical data.  

The science isn’t new, but the technological applications are, and PUI Audio is still exploring all the ways the science can be applied in industrial, medical and consumer settings. It’s a new frontier, and as with most of the new frontiers PUI is working to break through, the best ideas come through collaboration and brainstorming with our customers. Often, we don’t know where the solutions will lead us until we start talking, so if you have an idea, question or rogue thought and are wondering if ultrasonic might provide the answer, let’s talk!

Have a conversation with an engineer, and let’s figure it out together.

Three Unique Ways Our Clients are Using Microphones to Collect More Than Voices

Microphones aren’t just for voice collection. Here’s three unique ways engineers are putting microphones to use in creative ways to collect data and solve problems. 

  1. Microphones are being used in nature. 

Scientists are developing creative ways to use microphones in the collection of audio as it relates to nature, habitats and environmental protection and sustainability. PUI Audio has worked with some scientists as they’ve set up audio collection points in wilderness areas to collect audio for the detection of certain species, so they can track habitat populations and migratory patterns. Additionally, microphones are being used in nature to collect ambient sounds for use in electronics and soothing sounds to help people sleep!

  1. Water leak detection and flow rate

PUI Audio has seen some creative uses for audio components, and one way in which we see out water-resistant microphones being used is in the collection of audio for the purpose of detecting minute sounds as they relate to water. Through the use of sensitive and water-resistant microphones, we are seeing teams use microphones to detect water leaks, track flow rate and study the movement of water through specific spaces. 

  1. Security and gunshot detection

Another way microphones are being deployed is as a security measure. Microphones can detect via sound the presence of unwanted visitors and even gunshots. With highly-sensitive microphone equipment, we are seeing that our microphones have been used to zero in on the specific sound of gunshots or other noises indicative of a safety breach (like broken glass), and helping alert authorities for quicker response times. 

Many people think of voice when they think of our microphone product category, but these are just three ways we are watching creative and innovative teams think about audio differently, deploying microphones to solve and proactively gather information. Every year, we are helping our clients brainstorm new and unique ways to study and collect audio and continue to push the industry forward.

What you need to know before choosing the right microphone for your project

When it needs to be heard, PUI Audio microphones help to capture clean sound in ways that make your projects effective, whether you are capturing voice or using microphones for audio detection in other ways. 

When deciding on a microphone as a component of your engineering project, you have some key decisions to make for what microphone is right for your needs. 

Sensitivity

The sensitivity of your microphone will determine how well it picks up on the sound around it. If you are looking to capture voice, you may not need as highly sensitive a microphone as if you were looking to capture and detect specific sounds among ambient noise, for example. A voice would be spoken directly into the microphone, so the microphone wouldn’t need to be as sensitive to pick it up. However, if you were a researcher attempting to capture the sounds of a specific bird in an area of wilderness, you will probably need a microphone that can zero in and pick up that specific sound. 

Directivity

When thinking about the directivity of your microphone, you need to consider where the noise is in relation to the microphone components of your project. 

  • Uni- A traditional unidirectional microphone will pick up sound from one primary direction, generally in front of the microphone. 
  • Bi- A bi-directional microphone will pick up sound in two directions, but it isn’t as black and white as thinking of a microphone as if it has an x and y axis. Instead, the microphone picks up sound in a more circular or spherical shape around the microphone, so a bi-drectional microphone will get you pretty close to picking up sounds in all directions and cover the majority of space around the microphone. 
  • Omni- An omni directional microphone will cover all of the gaps missed in a bi-drectional microphone. The sound is collected in all directions, and will cover the most area of any of the microphone directivity types. 

Special Features

When considering your microphone type, you also need to consider what special features you may need to execute your project to your specifications. 

PUI’s line of HD microphones are making a major impact across industries by picking up sound in a crisp and clear way that rivals the sound quality of larger, more expensive and more robust units. From a small package, the sound quality captured in our high definition microphones is amazing audio engineers across the industry. 

Water resistance and high-temp options:

Where will the microphone need to be placed? 

If your microphone will need to withstand the elements, consider looking at PUI Audio’s high-temperature microphones or water resistant microphone options. Our components are quality tested to withstand the additional strains of these types of elements without compromising audio quality and collection. 

Whatever your needs for audio quality and collection, PUI Audio can help you to find the right microphone and audio components for your project. The difference is our engineering team. We are eager to brainstorm creative solutions with you and develop solutions that will help your project succeed. Reach out and chat with us to learn more about how we can help. 

What’s the buzz about feedback you can feel? Three ways PUI’s new haptics can improve accessibility in medical and industrial settings

Haptics are buzzing at PUI Audio as we are heading into 2023 thinking of audio as a full sensory experience. 

Last year, PUI introduced a new line of products, focused on the tactile experience. The new haptics products provide feedback you can feel using the same electromagnetic principles as a speaker – but instead of a paper cone moving air, a moving mass is used to deliver vibrations.

Our haptics products are working to make the world a safer, healthier and more accessible place. 

How? 

In medical and industrial settings, the ability to feel an important alert is sometimes just as important as hearing one. And when we think of our hearing impaired end users, the ability to feel an alert is even more important. 

Haptics help in a crowded medical alert environment.

When multiple notifications—or alerts–are alarming at once, it can be difficult to hear or discern when an alarm is ringing, and then to hear quickly which alarm is ringing. The added practical applications of haptics in a medical setting ensure that alerts are felt and information is deciphered quickly.

Additionally, when commands are input, the addition of haptics, and tactile feedback, make it easy to confirm when the right buttons have been pressed or data input into a system. The additional feel of confirmations (or rejections) through haptics, provide an added layer of support to health care workers who are having to untangle many messages at once. 

Utilizing multiple senses helps messages be delivered. 

The human body’s five senses are the pathways through which we experience the world around us. It is exceedingly rare that any of these senses are experienced in isolation; often, two or more of our senses receive information simultaneously. Traditionally, many products use two of the five senses to deliver information to a user–sight and hearing. The same strategy applies to haptics, which add a tactile notification in addition to audible or visual cues. 

Think about settings in which you push a button and see a light light up, or a beep to confirm. These alerts are enhanced with you also feel the confirmation, with a vibration, indicating to your brain the the process was successful. 

Safety messages are heard–and felt–quickly and directly.

In an industrial environment, operators rely on this tactile feedback to prevent accidents, ensure safety and confirm successful processes. 

Think of a forklift operator, who is using their visual sense to pay keen attention to the task in front of (and behind them). The operator relies on memory, or tactile feedback, to ensure things they cannot look at are successfully changed or implemented, like buttons being pressed. 

The same can be true of those working on a production line, or operating heavy machinery. Often, visual senses must be activated to look in or at a certain focal point, leaving the operations exposed to trusting that other supplementary processes are functioning, confirmed, or—in the case of a safety issue, that the operator is alerted in a way that doesn’t detract from other key functions, where eyes and ears are needed. 

Haptics have many applications. Medical and industrial settings are just a couple of examples of how implementation of tactile feedback can help keep critical operations safe. The addition of tactile feedback provides more than accessibility, vibrations ensure messages are relayed in multi-sensory ways that keep operations efficient, medical settings moving and industrial settings safe. 

Learn more about what PUI is doing with haptics in our resource center. 

What’s changing about requirements for audio components in a medical setting?

When it needs to be heard in a medical setting, it needs to be clear, concise and easy to determine what sounds are indicating to providers and patients. Especially when multiple devices are sending out codes at the same time, the difference between a legible and illegible sound can mean the difference between patients getting the treatment and care they need or missing out–and sometimes, even life or death. 

With the increased use of medical electronics in medicine today, the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) developed the IEC 60601-1-8 standard to regulate alarm signals to prevent confusion, when several instruments are sounding at the sametime in the same room.

While the IEC 60601-1-8 standard covers every aspect of the alarm signals and should be referred to as the ultimate reference with regards to the specific tones to use in your device, there are three main requirements that pertain to speaker selection:

  • A pulsed frequency between 150 Hz and 1 kHz
  • At a minimum of four harmonics of the pulsed frequency between 300 Hz and 4 kHz
  • The sound pressure level (SPL) of the harmonics must be within ±15 dB of the pulsed frequency

Additional pulse requirements—such as pulse duration, rise time, and fall time—are also part of this standard, but pertain more to the input signal sent to the speaker.

PUI Audio has developed a resource for engineers to help determine what products will aid in meeting the guidelines and adding clarity to the patient experience. 

From our testing, we can deduce the characteristics of a speaker that makes it an ideal  candidate to use within a Medical Device that needs to meet the criteria set forth by IEC 60601-1-8.

We’ve also included Steps to selecting the ideal speaker for your application and Speaker Integration Best Practices and Recommended Speakers.

You can download the whitepaper for free and read it here.

Our engineering team is eager to work on developing new solutions and continuing to push the envelope. Curious to learn more? Ready to kick off a brainstorming session about your audio needs in the manufacturing industry? Reach out! Ask an engineer or chat with us. We are here to help.  

Five uses for audio components in a medical setting

While it might not be on your mind the next time you find yourself in a medical setting, you can be assured that audio engineers, facilities managers and patient experience directors are putting a great deal of thought into how audio components are enhancing, regulating and simplifying the experience in a medical setting. Audio can power the patient experience, ensuring vital information is communicated and understood, expediting needs and keeping the focus on patient care.

Here are just five ways that audio components can enhance the patient experience in a medical setting, but we guarantee once you read through these, you’ll probably think of–or hear–countless others the next time you find yourself in a position to observe. 

  1. Vital Signs Monitoring: 

Whether it is life-saving equipment or experience-enhancing entertainment, the patient room is dependent on technology that enhances the experience.

When patient vital signs are monitored, sounds alert medical professionals when diagnostics are off track.

  1. Diagnostic Imaging:

Diagnostic imaging is supported by sounds that give patients and providers comfort and accurate readings.

Audio alerts throughout diagnostic imaging alert providers to precise patient positioning and accurate readings, giving technicians the information they need to effectively complete imaging requests and relay accurate diagnoses.  

  1. Patient Entertainment:

Patient entertainment keeps patients comfortable and happy, easing worry and creating pleasant environments. 

Audio plays a crucial role in the patient experience through entertainment options in patient rooms. Entertainment provides access to efficient processes, such as ordering food and alerting staff of concerns, as well as comfortable viewing of things like television and listening to music, which can ease patients into a more relaxed and comfortable state during stays. 

Outside the patient room, sounds can help those less experienced than medical professionals with medical needs when life-saving measures are needed or diagnostic information is crucial. 

4. Defibrillator

Alert sounds on a defibrillator are crucial in helping save lives. Sounds can help guide live-saving processes and bring back or regulate patients in emergency situations. Until someone is in a high-energy emergency situation, they don’t often realize how comforting and necessary the sounds on emergency devices can be in helping to alert people of proper usage in life-saving situations. 

5. Glucose Monitor

Small but mighty sounds on a glucose monitor help at-home patients determine if they’ve properly administered testing procedures, ensuring a timely and accurate result. Sounds alert people to processes they aren’t used to administering and ensure they are completed properly when testing at home. 

These are just five of the ways the medical industry is turning to audio component manufacturers for audio solutions in a medical setting. Whether it is for hospital rooms, doctors’ offices, outpatient centers or the operating room, sound plays a vital role in the experience. 

Learn more about our work in the medical sector here

PUI Audio works with leadership at medical institutions to find–and build!–solutions that make sure that when it needs to be heard. Our engineering team is eager to work on developing new solutions and continuing to push the envelope. Curious to learn more? Ready to kick off a brainstorming session about your audio needs in the manufacturing industry? Reach out! Ask an engineer or chat with us. We are here to help.