Copper wire turns cloth into speaker

Shibata Technotex Co Ltd, based in Ichinomiya, Aichi Prefecture, has developed a flat speaker that can be woven with copper or stainless steel.

Shibata Technotex is a fabric manufacturer founded in 1947. Developing smart textiles that interweave “conductive thread,” which is made by winding copper or stainless steel around polyester, is one of its new businesses. Conductive thread is entirely covered and it can be soldered.

It can be woven into a cloth and used as wiring, and it can be used as a connection port for the “LilyPad” device that can be stitched into clothes. The stainless conductive thread is also washable.

The planar capacitor speaker that is made of cloth has a conductive film that functions as a vibration film between two pieces of conductive fabric. Sound source signals whose plus and minus are inverted flow in the conductive fabric. When the vibration film is placed on the ground, the film is attracted to the conductive fabric on the “plus” side. When this is repeated, sound is produced.

In a demonstration of connecting a smartphone playing music and an amplifier, while the appearance and touch feeling (softness) of speaker were equivalent to those of normal clothes, the speaker had a high directivity, and the music can be heard even in a noisy location.

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