Show Details

Audio Sheets

May 30, 2017

Thin, flexible transducers could lead to newspapers that can hear and talk.


Michigan State University



Paper thin speakers and microphones. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Materials called piezoelectric crystals generate electricity whenever they bend or vibrate. In the journal Nature Communications, engineer Nelson Sepulveda and his colleagues report designing thin, flexible piezoelectric sheets. He says they could be used to make portable loudspeakers you could stick to a wall, speech identification security systems, or to add sound to electronic newspapers, or ePapers.

NELSON SEPULVEDA (Michigan State University):

So now not only could you have visual feedback, but you could talk to the ePaper and receive information back from the ePaper in the form of this microphone that is also a loudspeaker.


The team demonstrated the sheets’ ability to distinguish different voices and reproduce different musical instruments. Sepulveda says the material can be made sensitive enough for miniature voice recognition systems and quality sound reproduction. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

Story by Bob Hirshon