New Headphone Technology Delivers Sound Via Carbon Nanotubes

You'd think that speaker technology was pretty well disrupted, given that it has been around for about as long as any technology... ever. As it turns out, there's still more to be down. A new kind of headphone taps into the power of carbon nanotubes in order to deliver sounds, with a tiny internal speaker relying not on moving parts, but producing audio "through the thermoacoustic effect." According to a new report, the nanotube speakers could even hit a sweet spot in terms of pricing.

Essentially, the new invention bypasses moving parts and instead relies on expansion and contraction of air to create sound. “We found that processing the carbon nanotube film into thin yarn arrays doesn’t weaken the thermoacoustic effect but can greatly improve the device robustness and durability. And the new design mounts the nanotube structures on silicon chips that are compatible with existing manufacturing methods. The thermoacoustic chips could be easily integrated into circuit boards for speakers with other electronic elements, such as control circuits." That's according to Yang Wei, a mechanical engineer at Tsinghua University.

It's tough to say if any of this is on a fast-track to commercial release, but it does introduce some interesting proposals. Perhaps Beats: Nanotube Edition are in your future, after all.