By Caroline Perry -
In a materials science laboratory at Harvard, a transparent disk connected to a laptop fills the room with music — it’s the “Morning” prelude from “Peer Gynt” played on an ionic speaker.
No ordinary speaker, it consists of a thin sheet of rubber sandwiched between two layers of a saltwater gel, and it’s as clear as glass. A high-voltage signal that runs across the surfaces and through the layers forces the rubber to rapidly contract and vibrate, producing sounds that span the entire audible spectrum, 20 hertz to 20 kilohertz.
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