Ultra Flat Speakers Could Make Walls, Furniture Into Audio Devices

A team of engineers at the University of Warwick have developed what has already been described as a revolutionary new loudspeaker technology that could change the way sound is emitted in our every day life.

Unlike traditional conical speakers, Flat Flexible Loudspeakers (FFL) transmit sound straight which according to Steve Couchman, CEO of Warwick Audio Technology, the spin-off company that will sell FLL later this year, will ensure that "the sound, volume and quality does not deteriorate as it does in conventional speakers which means that public announcements in passenger terminals could be clearer, crisper and easier to hear."

FFL is also said to be similar to electrostatic speakers but smaller, lighter, thinner (just 0.25mm thick) more flexible and sturdy and can be made to cover a much larger surface area. FFL could, in theory, be inserted behind posters, around corners, in a sofa or even on on table.

What's more, because they are made up of a flexible laminate that is essentially a number of thin, alternately conducting and insulating materials, they are relatively simple to manufacture and the entry price could make it affordable enough to displace older technology fast.

According to Wired, initial research took place using material commonly found in British kitchens, baking paper and two sheets of kitchen foil. Like another highly successful technology company, ARM, Warwick Audio Technologies will almost certainly license the technology to third parties to develop (and improve) FFL.

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Our Comments

It is refreshing to see this kind of technology popping out from nowhere. And unlike flexible technology, the price of ultra flat speakers should be at least, on paper (pun intended), at least comparable to traditional speaker sets. The fact that it will be made up of a conducting material also paves the way for wireless speakers using the speaker's foil structure as antenna.

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