Nanomembranes put to use in wearable loudspeaker film

Diagram of figure with loudspeaker on back of hand
Schematic of the skin-attachable NM loudspeaker with the orthogonal AgNW array | Via Science Advances/UNIST

Put your nanotubes down; the latest flexible, flat loudspeaker has been made out of nanomembranes (NMs). Korean researchers from Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) have demonstrated an NM loudspeaker, attached to skin and playing a violin concerto.

The problem, according to the researchers, with previous nanotube or graphene based loudspeakers is they are not as mechanically strong as a nanomembrane made out of silver nanowires, the approach that they have taken and report on in their recent paper

Their loudspeaker has been demonstrated as a very thin film like layer attached to a person’s hand playing La Campanella by Niccolo Paganini. The method is detailed in the journal Science Advances where researchers outline how the NM loudspeaker exhibits a significant enhancement in thermoacoustic capabilities without any significant heat loss from the substrate. An NM microphone was also presented.

The researchers’ idea is that by creating a film like product they will open the doors to wearable electronics applications that will be in high demand as the IoT takes off and demand for new human machine interfaces increases.