The Disney Research lab is once again talking about it in his exploration of applications for 3D printing.
Researchers at Disney this time developed a technology to design and manufacture speakers fully 3D printed. This technology allows, from conception, to easily integrate loudspeakers in all sorts of objects and minimizing required assembly. Product designers can then unleash their imagination. The speakers can now take any form: a rubber ducky, a figurine, an abstract spiral…
In contrast to traditional electromagnetic speaker as we all know, these 3D printed speakers based on the principle of electrostatic speakers known since the 1930s. A thin layer of conductive paint is applied to a membrane, also printed in 3D, not supportive of the body. When current passes through the membrane, the latter between vibrations and produces a sound to 60dB. Of course, the sound quality is not yet up to the Hi-Fi speakers in our living room but this approach shows once again the potential of 3D printing.
Also, as we can see in the video below, these speakers can also produce ultrasound inaudible to the human ear. Using the built-in microphone as a computer, this technique can locate the speaker in space and realize a tracking its movements in 3D and in real time. It is possible to imagine many edutainment applications.