Canadian Manufacturing

Ont. firm gets FedDev funding to create neodymium-free speakers

Sentient Magnetics of Schomberg, Ont., developing cheaper, lighter automotive audio speaker



SCHOMBERG, Ont.—An electronics firm in a tiny Ontario village is hoping to change the automotive audio industry in a big way with a little bit of help from some government funding.

Sentient Magnetics Inc. is receiving repayable funding of $205,000 from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) to support the development of a new automotive audio speaker that is less expensive and weighs less than current technologies.

The speaker is being developed using the company’s internationally patented technology, which eliminates the need for the costly rare earth element neodymium in the production of speaker magnets.

Removal of neodymium would greatly reduce the price and weight of the speaker.

The FedDev Ontario funding comes from its Investing in Business Innovation initiative.

“As a result of FedDev Ontario’s financial participation we have been able to cut time to market with early prototypes and get the attention of potential customers much more quickly,” Sentient Magnetics CEO John French said in a statement.

“This is especially important to our investors, given the typical lengthy process for adopting new technology in the automotive industry.”

FedDev Ontario funding for Sentient Magnetics also enabled the company to attract up to $410,000 in leveraged funding from Maple Leaf Angels, a registered member of the Network of Angel Organizations-Ontario.

The company anticipates creating up to 19 full-time jobs during implementation of this project and an additional six jobs in the Schomberg, Ont., area—located approximately 60 kilometres north of Toronto—by 2017.

Sentient Magnetics was created from parent company Audera Acoustics Inc. in 2011 to focus on the development of its electromagnetic technology.

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