they've been making thin loudspeakers for years that generate sound by passing electricity through the material. They reproduce highs execelently, but are not able to produce the lows. Normally these panels are paired with a conventional subwoofer for the full range of audio.
"Flat" speakers are for real, even though I've never seen any that look like the ones on pictures in article.
There is also a possibility of directing sound to a certain area, so for an example you could be watching TV with these speakers, watching some "loud" action movie, yet your wife and kids could be sleepinga meter or two away without noticing it at all (sound-wise, I'm not speaking about blinking lights from TV screen ). Oh, and this is not headphones, so no problems with head-worn equipment.
If this is based upon same technologies and principles, it would allow a car where each seat has speakers directed at the person sitting in them, and allow each person to listen to its own music or radio station, without headphones, and allowing to normaly hear outer-sounds (which is very important for a driver).
So yeah, I don't think this one is an Aprils fools joke. I just hope they can really market it as soon as they say, and hopefully not for a huge price premium vs regular speakers.
xrelm20 is correct, they have been making these for quite some time, generally referred to as electrostatic speakers. There are three problems with electrostatic speakers though. The first is bass response, basically there is none. The speaker, due to its construction simply cannot reach lower frequencies, they are paired with a sub to get to this range (as xrelm20 said). The second problem is voltage. The speaker works by charging a membrane and placing it between two panels that alternate charge quickly. For there to be enough of a difference between the panels to drive the membrane, they have to have a large voltage pass through them (large voltage, not large amperage). The third thing is cost. I have seen a cheap pair of these, in a local high end home theater store, for $10,000 if I remember correctly.
What could be important about these FFC's is not that they are some new tech, but that they are relatively inexpensive to manufacture and they require little power to operate. Having an electrostatic speaker that doesn't need a costly amplifier would be a great thing.
There's no replacement for displacement of air when it comes to low frequencies. If you can't move enough air you don't feel it. That said, that's interesting technology... I imagine this tech mated to flexible printed screens of the future. Both sight and sounds would come from the same exact source.
Speakers reporduce recorded sounds by moving air. For lower frequencies, where sound pressure is created only when a large amount of air is moved, this technology cannot work by definition. The membrane of all speakers is thin, or else it would weigh too much and not be correctly responsive. Basically, this article is written by the uninformed (about basic physics) for the uninformed.
[citation][nom]lamorpa[/nom]Speakers reporduce recorded sounds by moving air. For lower frequencies, where sound pressure is created only when a large amount of air is moved, this technology cannot work by definition. The membrane of all speakers is thin, or else it would weigh too much and not be correctly responsive. Basically, this article is written by the uninformed (about basic physics) for the uninformed.[/citation]
The amount of air is related to how loud the sound is. You can have faint, deep bass by moving a membrane at the desired low frequency.