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Revolutionary speaker is as thin as paper

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have unveiled a revolutionary speaker that is barely thicker than a sheet of paper. It is capable of turning any surface into an audio source and is particularly energy efficient.

Revolutionary speaker is as thin as a sheet of paper

Ultra-thin, extremely light, very powerful, inexpensive and energy-efficient, it is said to be, the new loudspeaker researchers at the U.S. Institute MIT have developed. It is about as thick as a sheet of paper and weighs just two grams. At the same time, the cost of manufacturing it is very low, the researchers say.

In addition, the speaker is easily scalable and requires only a fraction of the energy that conventional speakers use to operate. At the same time, audio quality is not said to suffer from the dimensions. A sound pressure level of 86 dB (SPL) at a distance of 30 centimeters is promised. In addition, the acoustic reproduction performance can be further improved by simply extending the sound domes.

Extremely easy to manufacture

The technology behind the paper-thin speaker is surprisingly simple. In just three steps, the device can be assembled and easily scaled in size. In the process, the leaf speakers can be easily attached to any surface and should be able to provide a type of active noise cancellation (ANC) on planes or in cars, for example. The reports MIT.

Due to the low weight and compact dimensions, it is also conceivable that they could be used in smart devices – smartphones or tablets, for example – which could be equipped with a larger battery as a result.

The energy-efficient speakers only need around 100 milliwatts of energy per square meter of speaker area. By comparison, the average power consumption of a commercially available loudspeaker is over 1 watt in order to “realize an equivalent sound level over a comparable distance”.

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Thin films meet sound domes

A typical loudspeaker realizes sound via electrical pulses flowing through a coil of wire. The resulting magnetic field energizes the diaphragms, which thus provide the sound we hear through the air they generate.

In MIT’s revolutionary loudspeaker, the technology works quite differently. It uses a wafer-thin film of piezoelectric material that moves when current flows across it. This then causes the air above it to move, producing sound.

Usually, speakers built this way must be mounted free-standing. Wall mounting would impede the vibrations and suppress their ability to produce sound, the researchers explain. For this, they rethought the basic design of such thin-film speakers, they said.

One layer of the piezoelectric material consists of small domes, each of which vibrates individually. Care is always taken to ensure that there is always a certain amount of space between the domes and the surface to which the speakers are attached to allow free vibration. The same “spacer layer” also ensures that the sound domes are protected from the hazards of everyday use, thus also improving the longevity of the speakers.

The design allows for a variety of application scenarios. For example, the paper-thin speakers could also be used in a liquid to stir it through the vibrations. This could be particularly interesting in chemistry, as it would allow chemicals to be stirred in a much more energy-efficient way than with current methods.

“We have the ability to create precise mechanical air motion by activating a scalable physical surface. The applications for this technology are endless,” reveals Vladimir Bulović, the project’s lead researcher.

Simon Lüthje

I am co-founder of this blog and am very interested in everything that has to do with technology, but I also like to play games. I was born in Hamburg, but now I live in Bad Segeberg.

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Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have unveiled a revolutionary speaker that is barely thicker than a sheet of paper. It is capable of turning any surface into an audio source and is particularly energy efficient. Revolutionary speaker is as thin as a sheet of paper Ultra-thin, extremely light, very powerful, inexpensive and … (Weiterlesen...)

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