Scientists at Tsinghua University in Beijing have just perfected a process by which nanotubes can be coaxed to emit sound, allowing for the construction of ultra-thin, transparent, flexible 'speakers', demonstrated above affixed to a waving flag. Unlike normal speakers, which produce sound with direct vibration, these sheets produce sound with wildly fluctuating temperatures that create pressure oscillations in the surrounding air. In other words, these nanotube speakers — in contrast to other forays into flat sound production — don't vibrate at all.
In a second demonstration video, the speaker film is shown being stretched, while the emitted sound remains unperturbed. This could have tremendous ramifications for mobile music devices and phones, but the researchers didn't drop any clues as to when, or even if, this tech could make it to market. [New Scientist via Physorg]