MIT researchers are experimenting with piezoelectric fibers that can convert sound waves into an electric signal and vice versa. This kind of fabrics could one day be used to create clothes that can record sound, or walls that play music.
Yoel Fink, an assistant professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and his colleagues developed fibers that are active where most are passive. Specifically, through a new application of widely used technology called piezoelectrics, fibers can convert sound waves into an electrical signal and vice versa, MIT announced Monday.
Piezoelectric speakers have been around for a long time--beeping digital watches and those musical greeting cards use them, for example--but Fink's approach uses fibers instead of a flat speaker. Key to the approach is making the fibers so that one side is different from the other, rather than being symmetric.