A paper-thin, flexible device created at Michigan State University not only can generate energy from human motion, it can act as a loudspeaker and microphone as well, nanotechnology researchers report today in Nature Communications.
The audio breakthrough could eventually lead to such consumer products as a foldable loudspeaker, a voice-activated security patch for computers and even a talking newspaper.
“Every technology starts with a breakthrough and this is a breakthrough for this particular technology,” said Nelson Sepulveda, MSU associate professor of electrical and computer engineering and primary investigator of the federally funded project.
“This is the first transducer that is ultrathin, flexible, scalable and bidirectional, meaning it can convert mechanical energy to electrical energy and electrical energy to mechanical energy.”
In late 2016, Sepulveda and his team successfully demonstrated their sheet-like device – known as a ferroelectret nanogenerator, or FENG – by using it to power a keyboard, LED lights and an LCD touch-screen. That process worked with a finger swipe or a light pressing motion to activate the devices – converting mechanical energy to electrical energy.
The current breakthrough extends the FENG’s usability. The researchers discovered the high-tech material can act as a microphone (by capturing the vibrations from sound, or mechanical energy, and converting it to electrical energy) as well as a loudspeaker (by operating the opposite way: converting electrical energy to mechanical energy).
To demonstrate the microphone effect, the researchers developed a FENG security patch that uses voice recognition to access a computer. The patch was successful in protecting an individual’s computer from outside users. “The device is so sensitive to the vibrations that it catches the frequency components of your voice,” Sepulveda said.
To demonstrate the loudspeaker effect, the FENG fabric was embedded into an MSU Spartan flag. Music was piped from an iPad through an amplifier and into the flag, which then reproduced the sound flawlessly. “The flag itself became the loudspeaker,” Sepulveda said. “So we could use it in the future by taking traditional speakers, which are big, bulky and use a lot of power, and replacing them with this very flexible, thin, small device.”
Imagine a day when someone could pull a lightweight loudspeaker out of their pocket, slap it against the wall and transmit their speech to a roomful of people, Sepulveda said.
“Or imagine a newspaper,” he added, “where the sheets are microphones and loudspeakers. You could essentially have a voice-activated newspaper that talks back to you”
Wei Li, an MSU engineering researcher and lead author of the paper in Nature Communications, said other potential applications of the FENG include noise-cancelling sheeting and a health-monitoring wristband that is voice-protected.
“Many people are focusing on the sight and touch aspects of flexible electronics,” Li said, “but we’re also focusing on the speaking and listening aspects of the technology.”
The innovative process of creating the FENG starts with a silicone wafer, which is then fabricated with several layers, or thin sheets, of environmentally friendly substances including silver, polyimide and polypropylene ferroelectret. Ions are added so that each layer in the device contains charged particles. Electrical energy is created when the device is compressed by human motion, or mechanical energy.
Learn more: HOW SCIENTISTS TURNED A FLAG INTO A LOUDSPEAKER
The Latest on: Flexible electronics
Organic Electronics Market Analysis By Top Key Players – Sigma-Aldrich, AU Optronics , Bayer Material, Merck Kgaa, Fujifilm Dimatix, Samsung Display
on July 17, 2018 at 11:51 pm
and this would drive the growth of flexible electronics market. MRFR Research Analyst shares with us the market insights while commenting upon this deep diving study report published by Market Researc... […]
Complete Overview of Global Flexible Electronics & Circuit Sales Market: Latest Trends, Profits, Growth Strategies
on July 17, 2018 at 2:21 pm
Questale being one of the best market research firms believes in providing high-quality research reports to its clients. In this research report, we are going to provide complete standing of Global Fl... […]
Royole Introduces World's First High-Definition Wearables Featuring Their Flexible Display Technologies
on July 17, 2018 at 8:20 am
Royole's flexible display and flexible sensor technologies can be integrated into a variety of products and applications to improve the way people perceive and engage with their personal environments ... […]
Mass production of flexible displays at Royole campus
on July 16, 2018 at 5:15 pm
For more information see the IDTechEx report on printed, organic and flexible electronics and barrier layers for flexible electronics. At full capacity, Royole's massive 1.1-million-square-foot Quasi- ... […]
Trend Expected to Guide Flexible Barrier Films for Electronics Market During 2015-2025
on July 13, 2018 at 9:54 pm
Valley Cottage, NY -- (SBWIRE) -- 07/13/2018 -- Flexible barrier films is a flexible substrate or barriers made to protect the electronic components from degradation caused due to oxygen and water and ... […]
via Google News and Bing News