The plastic sheet projects Conan’s voice, American Idol’s music or any other sound by flexing in and out in different patterns — fast, slow, shallow, deep—to release waves of various frequencies and volumes. The movement is so minute and quick that it’s imperceptible to the eye. It’s precisely controlled by tiny, quiet motors made of a ceramic material that automatically expands when jolted with an electrical audio signal. The system reproduces all tones except the deep bass notes usually handled by a subwoofer, since that would require large, visible pulses.
Expect Edge Motion to be built into some TVs next year, adding 10 to 15 percent to the cost. Laptop screens will start singing soon after.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.