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Sennheiser Announces Investment In Norwegian Scale-Up Business sensiBel

Developer of optical MEMS microphones employing unique technology for application areas such as consumer electronics, automotive, conferencing, and medical devices.
Optical MEMS microphones from sensiBel.

Sennheiser has announced that together with existing investors, it is investing 7 million euros in the Norwegian scale-up business sensiBel, developer of optical MEMS microphones for application areas such as consumer electronics, automotive, conferencing, and medical devices.

“We want to grow sustainably as a company. In addition to investments in our existing business, this also includes investments in promising future fields outside of our company, providing these align well to our company and our vision,” explains co-CEO Daniel Sennheiser.

Andreas Sennheiser adds, “sensiBel’s innovative optical MEMS technology is clearly this type of promising emerging field. As investors, we look forward to actively driving forward this groundbreaking development.”

sensiBel has developed a miniature microphone using optical technology that is designed to offer a generational shift in MEMS microphone performance, which it is now sampling with lead customers. “sensiBel shares the same vision as Sennheiser and we are proud to welcome Sennheiser as investor,” says CEO Sverre Dale Moen. “We believe an investment from such a highly recognized audio company speaks of the merits of the technology and the potential for optical MEMS technology to shape the future of miniature microphones.”

The distinctive feature of sensiBel’s unique technology is the use of light waves to measure the movement of the diaphragm. By contrast, other MEMS microphones measure an electric field between the moving diaphragm and a backplate. In sensiBel’s optical system however, a laser generates light beams that are projected onto the microphone membrane and reflected on a photo detector. The reflected beams are captured and processed in an Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) with a digital output data interface.

The new technology makes it possible to measure very small movements and therefore capture very low noise levels – even when there is a high level of loud background noise. Additionally, the optical MEMS microphone can withstand high sound pressure levels in providing a large dynamic range to the users. As a result, the sensiBel states that the microphones generate significantly better sound quality than previous MEMS models on the market – with a specification of 80 dBA SNR (14 dBA noise floor), 132 dB dynamic range, 24-bit digital output, and with low power consumption.


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