these tiny speakers will make your skin play music

So you won’t have to remember to bring speakers to the park anymore.

by Annie Lord
13 August 2018, 10:37am

Flying cars and talking holograms are already a thing: now your skin can play music. You might have just got used to wireless speakers, no longer pressing buttons but simply commanding: “Alexa! Play Robyn!” But soon you might not even have to use anything physical to hear music -- no more USB sticks, clunky chargers or batteries, just sound waves floating around the air like fairy dust.

This comes as scientists have developed new wearable technology that turns your skin into a speaker. The new “smart skin” is fully transparent and could be embedded into the ears or a patch on the throat to help your skin pick up audio signals. So in the future you might be able to walk around emitting music like you’re in a Beyoncé video or your very own musical.

In order for the speakers to work, researchers needed to design electronics which could conduct the electricity and heat required for transmitting audio, yet remain flexible enough to stretch and bend with the skin. The successful model uses tiny silver wires coated with polymer layers. Science Magazine describes the process as: “The tiny loudspeaker heats up the wire grid to about 33°C, which replicates the sound pattern by changing the pressure of the surrounding air. Our ears pick up these changes in air pressure as sound waves.”

The next step for researchers is to improve the sound quality and volume of the speakers, which are quiet and tinny. They also want to come up with better materials for mass manufacturing.

Here’s a clip of the speakers in action:

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