Paper with a rich sound
These research results sound amazing and are likely to make music fans sit up and take notice: researchers at the Institute for Print and Media Technology at Chemnitz University of Technology have developed loudspeakers that can be printed on standard paper using a special flexographic printing process.
- © Hendrik Schmidt
The technology is incredibly easy to use: just like any other speakers, the printed paper loudspeaker has to be connected to an audio amplifier. And the quality of the sound is also better than you might expect: “The frequency response and therefore the sound quality are good,” explains Dr. Georg Schmidt from TU Chemnitz.
The Chemnitz-based research team led by Professor Dr. Arved Hübler made the thin loudspeakers out of several layers of a conductive organic polymer and one piezoactive layer. They are incredibly robust and can be produced by printing at a very low cost. Professor Hübler, whose research is being funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research within the framework of the Plastic Acoustics project, expects the paper loudspeakers to open up a wide range of new applications: for example, they could become an attractive advertising platform because they are easy to print on. “Since the printing process allows any shape of loudspeaker, it offers completely new possibilities for influencing the sound waves produced.”
Professor Hübler’s team presented the first research results with the paper loudspeakers in Düsseldorf, in May 2012, at drupa, the world’s largest trade fair for printing technology. The researchers also presented another paper innovation: a further development of the printed paper solar cell. It is a solar tree with 50 printed paper solar cells hanging from it like large leaves.