A team of German scientists have developed the world’s first printable speaker, which will be displayed at the drupa tradeshow this month.

The Local.de reports that scientists at the Institute for Print and Media Technology at Chemnitz University of Technology have developed the printable speakers through the process of “printing layers of polymers and conductive chemicals onto a single piece of paper”. The speakers were also presented to visitors at the drupa show in Dusseldorf last month.

The team had been working on the project for two and a half years before making a successful prototype, and the finished product could become a “viable, cheaper alternative” to normal speakers as “polymers are cheap to make in big batches”. The only downside so far is that the speakers lack the ability to project deep bass sounds, though this is being worked on.

The speakers are highly flexible, and each is even able to “produce a better sound when it is being bent”, according to the researchers. The concept of “intelligent packaging”, whereby the paper could be used in a commercial sense, has also been mooted as a possible venture for the technology.

Project member Dr. Georg Schmidt described how the system works: “A cable is used to run music from a computer or MP3 player, which causes the printed layers to vibrate against each other and push the sound out.

“As soon as we had them working we used them to listen to the radio all the time in our office. They can create sound up to 80 decibels, so more than loud enough to hear inside.”

 

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