What’s “tens” of nanometres thin, contains no moving parts, and blasts out Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” all day long? Carbon nanotube speakers developed by researchers at China’s Tsinghua University, that’s what.
The researchers have found a way to get ridiculously thin films of nanotubes to transmit sound. They don’t move, or vibrate, instead the pressure waves are generated by temperature fluctuations across the surface. This means that even when bent, moving, or damaged, the sound is still perfect.
Currently, the team can only make them 10cm wide, but given that one four inch wafer of nanotubes can be stretched to 60m wide, you can make 500 10″x10″ speakers from a single wafer. The real-world implications of this technology will inevitably result in speakers that are effectively invisible to the naked eye. Just don’t walk into them.