New technology could turn your shirt into a speaker

This explains everything perfectly.
This explains everything perfectly.

It's long been accepted that decent-sounding speakers have to be reasonably large and weighty, but Chinese scientists might have created a material that could enable the creation of high-quality speakers that are as thin and flexible as you need them to be.

This is based on carbon nanotube films - the scientists explain that, "once fed by sound frequency electric currents, these could emit loud sounds".

"This phenomenon could be attributed to a thermoacoustic effect," they say. "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."

In practical terms, this means that you could use the technology to put speakers in almost anything: clothes, wallpaper or - as you can see in this video demonstration - a flag.

The material is stretchable and doesn't contain any mechanical parts, so designers could have a field day.

What we don't know, of course, is how good speakers based on the technology could actually sound. The audio quality in the video isn't exactly great, so it might be a while yet before you can turn up to a gig and hang your roll-up PA on the wall.

(Via NoiseAddicts)

Ben Rogerson

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it.