Speakers are often clunky and material-intensive, but the Flexpeaker from the Industrial Technology Research Institute in Taiwan is about as sleek and simple as can be. The 8.5-inch-by-11-inch sheet is made from layered thin electrodes and a prepolarized diaphragm sandwiched between two sheets of paper. As you might imagine, thin speakers breed thin sound. The Flexpeaker’s frequency response is 500Hz to 200kHz–not exactly fit for your average music snob. But the $20 sheet, which will eventually be available to purchase in rolls, are ideal for cars, thin-panel TVs, and anywhere with a public-address system (subways, train stations, etc.).
The Flexpeaker isn’t the only paper speaker on the horizon. Warwick Audio Technology plans to sell its flat, flexible speaker beginning later this year, and Mirae Plasma has been working on its own version since 2005.