Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed a paper-thin speaker that could find some exciting applications in our everyday lives in the future. In addition, it works much more energy-efficiently than an ordinary speaker.
The ultra-thin boombox is about as thick as a piece of paper, as reported by MIT and weighs about the same as a dime. Despite the small form factor, the speaker is said to reproduce sound with minimal distortion.
In addition, the new technology is easy to produce and scalable. That means the
speaker sheets can get pretty big. Large enough to cover the interior of a car or even an airplane, for example. The leaves can be attached to any surface.
In a short video, the researchers demonstrate their invention with the
Song We are the Champions from Queen:
link to YouTube content
How loud environments should become quiet
Due to the flexible application possibilities, vehicles not only become surround sound mobiles, the loudspeakers can also be used there for active noise canceling. The speaker plays sounds with the same amplitude as the outside noise, which means that the noises cancel each other out.
The result should be a significantly lower noise level in the plane or car. In addition, an application to devices such as smartphones, where battery performance is an important factor, is conceivable. The efficient paper speakers only need 100 milliwatts of energy per square meter. An ordinary speaker, on the other hand, often needs more than one watt for the same area.
Not quite as innovative, but still unusual, are these hanging speakers that we recently tested:
Gaming speaker to hang around the neck in the test
Much better than I feared
Many small domes create the sound
To create the sound, there are thousands of small domes on the speaker paper. The electrical energy makes them move up and down, causing the air to move, which ultimately creates the sound. The domes themselves are 15 micrometers high, which is about one-sixth the thickness of a human hair.
Due to their construction, the thin loudspeakers can also be used for purposes other than playing music or sound effects, such as ultrasound. This allows them to see where something is in space.
Also, you could immerse the speaker in a liquid to stir it, which would be more energy efficient than current processing methods, especially with chemical processes.
In general, Vladimir Bulovic, one of the authors of the research report, sees great potential in the technology. He says:
We have the ability to precisely create mechanical air movement by enabling a scalable physical surface. The possible uses of this technology are limitless.
In another experiment, researchers found a way to drastically extend battery life:
Thanks to a sensational accidental discovery, rechargeable batteries could soon last many times longer
What surfaces would you stick the paper-thin speakers to? Do you have any ideas for useful uses? Please let us know!