Paper loudspeakers printed by researchers

Researchers at the Institute for Print and Media Technology, Chemnitz University of Technology have created roll-to-roll printed paper loudspeakers.

The project, titles T-Paper, was funded by the German government with a 1.4 million Euros cash injection; The loudspeakers can be used as webs or as a circle (T-Ring).

The speaker track, including printed circuitry weighs 150 grams and consists of 90% conventional paper that can be printed in colour on both sides.

The research follows almost six years of research into paper electronics, when Chemnitz researchers developed the T-Book, an illustrated book equipped with printed electronics that allowed sound to be played through a speaker built into the sheet of paper.

To create the technology, a semi-automatic, single sheet production process is used, harnessing paper or foils with a piezoelectric layer sandwiched between two layers of a conductive organic polymer as electrodes. This layer is sandwiched between them as an active element, causing the paper or film to vibrate, creating sound via air displacement.

The two sides of the speaker paper can be printed in colour, with the researchers currently looking for a more cost-effective mass production technique to overcome the slow manufacturing process.

Georg Schmidt, project leader, Institute for Print and Media Technology, Chemnitz University of Technology, Chemnitz University said: "This means that low-cost infotainment solutions are now possible in museums, at trade shows and in the advertising industry, for example. In public buildings, for example, very homogeneous sound reinforcement of long stretches such as corridors is possible. But the process technology itself could also become interesting for other areas, such as the production of inline measurement systems for Industry 4.0,"

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