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Stick-On Tape Speakers, As Predicted By Bruce Sterling

Check out these cool stick-on stretchy tape speakers!


(Stretchy stick-on speakers)

If you’re prone to forgetting your headphones, new wearable technology that could turn your skin into a speaker should be music to your ears. Created in part to help the hearing and speech impaired, the new “smart skin” could be embedded into the ears—or into a patch on the throat. A similar device, described in the same study, acts as a microphone, which can be connected to smartphones and computers to unlock voice-activated security systems.

To build the speakers and the microphone, which are thinner than a temporary tattoo, the researchers needed to design electronics flexible enough to stretch and bend with the skin, without losing their capacity to conduct electricity and heat—both necessary to transmit audio signals.

After testing different materials, the scientists settled on grids of tiny silver wires coated with polymer layers, which were stretchy, transparent, and capable of conducting sound signals.

(Via ScienceMag.)

I think science fiction writers nailed this one. In his 1998 novel Distraction, Bruce Sterling wrote about how talking tape could help construct a building:

Oscar peeled a strip of tape from a yellow spool and wrapped the tape around a cinder block. He swept a hand-scanner over the block, activating the tape...

"I'm a cornerstone," the cinder block announced.

"Good for you," Oscar grunted.
(Read more about talking tape)

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