Our friend nanotechnology has produced a flexible, stretchable, transparent material thinner than paper that can be used as a speaker. This new material can be inserted into clothing, wallpaper, right into the ears or onto windows. The material has been developed by Chinese scientists and is made up of carbon nano tube films and could be used to produce the world’s thinnest speakers.
The new carbon material, which is 1/1000th the width of a human hair can produce sound with the “same quality of conventional speakers” but does not require magnetic drivers or any moving parts at all. This means that it can fit almost anywhere. I’d love to walk down the street in my speaker-shirt playing my favorite songs.
Here is a video of the material embedded onto a moving, flexible flag. It’s plugged into the researcher’s iPod.
My mind boggles at the potential applications of this material. Speakers on walls, speakers in hats, in bike or motorcycle helmets or on your shirt. How about SUPER small ear buds, sound right from your TV screen or the ultimate bling – a popped shirt collar that produces music.
Here is the abstract from the report that is to be presented on Dec 10th:
We found that very thin carbon nanotube films, once fed by sound frequency electric currents, could emit loud sounds. This phenomenon could be attributed to a thermoacoustic effect. The ultra small heat capacity per unit area of carbon nanotube thin films leads to a wide frequency response range and a high sound pressure level. On the basis of this finding, we made practical carbon nanotube thin film loudspeakers, which possess the merits of nanometer thickness and are transparent, flexible, stretchable, and magnet-free. Such a single-element thin film loudspeaker can be tailored into any shape and size, freestanding or on any insulating surfaces, which could open up new applications of and approaches to manufacturing loudspeakers and other acoustic devices.
Now if only these speakers could do this .
where can we get this?
The best part about the nano speakers that we have created in the US is that we can actually send wireless transmissions to them and have them play back the sounds at very low levels or if need be even better for a scary house affect. We used a strip of it over halloween in this place where there was nothing around and you could tell there was nothing around then we used the speakers to create sounds like ghosts and totally freaked people out.
Flag with a couple of wires will absolutely work. Unfortunately to produce enough power to operate a 100 watt light bulb, the materials will run into the thousands of dollars. Actually might be cheaper for the government to pay for the materials that to waste billions in Iraq.
As the article mentions this is probably a thermoacoustic effect, caused by the fact that since the nanotubes are able to quickly change their temperature (depending on whether or not there is a current running through them) they are able to produce sound waves via rapidly heating and cooling elements.
I wonder if this is like a piezoelectric effect, where moving the material creates a electrical charge? If so it could be a way to make a very cheap low power generator, just a flag with a couple of wires.