Flexpeaker Paper Thin Speakers

Flexpeaker is a remarkable stereo speaker made of a sheet of paper. Engineers at Taiwan's Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) have already produced rolls of paper stereo speakers. Next year they plan to produce a three-story high banner speaker.

For a demonstration, which you will frankly need to take on faith, see the Flexpeaker paper stereo speaker video:


(Flexpeaker paper stereo speaker video)

The goal for the researchers is to be able to mass produce standard poster-size speakers (A2, or 60cm by 44cm) costing just $20 each. Movie makers could then put out posters with soundtrack music or movie highlights emanating from them as people walk by.

The special paper is made by sandwiching thin electrodes that receive audio signals and a prepolarised diaphragm into the paper structure. A special Flexpeaker adaptor between the MP3 player and the speaker is used to play music through the paper. But in a year, ITRI hope to develop a chip that will do away with the adapter and allow people to plug a digital music player directly into the speaker.

This provides us with the sound needed to have a real poster TV like the one Larry Niven imagined in his 1976 novel A World Out of Time.

Soon enough, we will see many such sfnal devices. Philip K. Dick would need something like Flexpeaker to implement his battery-powered 3D comic book (The Zap Gun, 1965) as well as the memo-voice (War Game, 1959)

How about the talking tape from Bruce Sterling's 1998 novel Distraction?

Or maybe the command microphone and loudspeaker from Keith Laumer's 1982 novel Diplomat at Arms.

Or possibly the talking pamphlet from Harlan Ellison's 1961 short story do-it-yourself.

From PC Advisor UK and Engadget.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 4/28/2009)

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