Microsoft launched its Surface Studio 2 last October, and the company is already into development on the third generation. While Surface generations have typically received incremental updates, the Surface Studio 3 could receive more of a major upgrade over the existing model.
Leading the significant changes will be an embrace of MEMS microphones on the Surface Studio 3. Deemed a seismic leap in audio technology, MEMS microphones deliver sharper sound quality.
Microsoft has been using MEMS technology in its Surface Hub collaboration hardware for several years. However, transferring the tech to a smaller device poses issues. MEMS microphones are too big for thinner devices, even a relatively large form factor like the Surface Studio.
However, Microsoft says it has found a solution to this problem. In a new patent, the company describes how MEMS can be included in a device such as the upcoming Surface Studio 3.
“An electronic device with directional MEMS microphone assembly is provided, including a MEMS microphone capsule with a printed circuit board attached thereto and a housing attached to the printed circuit board. The microphone assembly includes a first internal port and a second internal port through the printed circuit board, wherein the first and second internal ports fluidly communicate with the MEMS microphone capsule. The microphone assembly further includes first and second external terminals through the housing, wherein the first external terminal is offset from the first internal terminal in an offset direction perpendicular to a thickness direction of the microphone assembly.”
The patent highlights the problems of placing MEMS technology into smaller devices. Microsoft says including the technology in a device such as a tablet or smartphone would compromise on the thickness of the hardware. While the tech could be included in these devices, Microsoft says consumers would be unwilling to make a trade off of thicker products.
Of course, this is just a patent at the moment. As usual, it is worth noting a patent is not a surefire guarantee that a finalized solution will be developed. However, it shows that Microsoft is working to improve its Surface Studio hardware.
If you want to check out the complete filing, head to USPTO.