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Researchers develop transparent and stretchable computer speakers

Screen Shot 2013-09-02 at 6.32.34 PM [1]

How would you like a speaker system that is totally transparent, stretchable, and made of gel? Sounds impossible? Well, thanks to a research team in Harvard University, it just might be a next big thing in the near future.

Developed by Jeong-Yun Sun and Christoph Keplinger, this transparent speaker uses the flow of ions which are basically charged atoms, instead of electrons that carry charge in electrical devices.

So, wondering how it’s made? It is fairly simple – well, if you are a scientist. It’s a combination of “two layers of saltwater gel sandwiched around a thin rubber sheet.” A high voltage is passed through the gel which causes the layer to force the rubber to vibrate, and thereby, producing sound.

The speakers can produce sound using the entire spectrum, from 20 hertz to 20 kilohertz. Not only that, they can also be used to sound proof windows which reduce noise transmitting across the surface of the glass.

Harvard School of Engineering and Applied science (SEAS) reports:

“The big vision is soft machines,” says co-lead author Christoph Keplinger, who worked on the project as a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard SEAS and in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology.“Engineered ionic systems can achieve a lot of functions that our body has: they can sense, they can conduct a signal, and they can actuate movement. We’re really approaching the type of soft machine that biology has to offer.”

Sounds cool, right? To see how it works, take a look at the below video, and let us know what you think of it in the comment section below [2].

[via The Verge [3], Harvard University [4]]