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    Content by Mika Satomi and Hannah Perner-Wilson
    The following institutions have funded our research and supported our work:

    From 2013-2014 Mika is a guest professor at the eLab at Kunsthochschule Berlin-Weissensee

    From July - December 2013 Hannah was a researcher at the UdK's Design Research Lab

    From 2010-2012 Mika was a guest researcher in the Smart Textiles Design Lab at The Swedish School of Textiles

    From 2009 - 2011 Hannah was a graduate student in the MIT Media Lab's High-Low Tech research group led by Leah Buechley


    In 2009 Hannah and Mika were both research fellows at the Distance Lab


    Between 2003 - 2009 Hannah and Mika were both students at Interface Cultures
    We support the Open Source Hardware movement. All our own designs published on this website are released under the Free Cultural Works definition
    Actuators

    Fabric Speakers

    Inspired by Marcelo Coehlo’s paper speaker and Vincent Leclerc’s Accouphene textile speaker, these paper and fabric speakers are made by running 5-9V sound amplified signal through a very conductive coil in close proximity to a magnet. Unlike most speakers that have the wire coil wrapped cylindrically and placed around the magnet, here the coil is in the plane and directly adhered to the membrane that moves the air creating sound.

    The coils can be made from a variety of conductive materials. Copper tape, conductive fabric tape, conductive fabric and stainless steel thread work really well. Gold leaf does not work as well (yet!) in comparison. The coil can be one sided or two sided. A continuous spiral gives better results than one that backs up on itself.

    The coils can be fused to a variety of membrane materials such as paper, vellum, veneer, fabric, transparency, tissue paper…

    I’ve posted more about the construction process here:
    >> http://web.media.mit.edu/~plusea/?p=265

    Thick metal embroidery thread embroidered and strong magnet


    Video

    In the video you will see: the cube magnet has one strong side and two weaker sides that cause the speaker to be quieter, the audio signal is coming from an mp3 player and is being amplified by a disassembled off-the-shelf speaker unit with a 3.7V LiPo battery.

    Conductive fabric lasercut and fused to canvas.

    Conductive fabric lasercut and fused to paper.

    Stainless steel thread sandwiched between masking tape.

    Steel thread sewn into canvas.

    Video

    18 Comments so far

    1. [...] Hannah Perner-Wilson has been experimenting with making speakers out of paper, using conductive tape and strong magnets. I like the idea of being able to build a speaker into almost anything! [via how to get what you want] [...]

    2. Jarbas Jácome on February 23rd, 2011

      very nice!!!
      jjR

    3. Elen Nas on February 25th, 2011

      Great! ;-)

    4. Floyd on March 3rd, 2011

      Great idea! Does volume and/or sound quality improve with a larger magnet?

    5. admin on March 3rd, 2011

      volume does increase with higher voltage and larger magnets, but not necessarily sound quality. i think the kind of membrane substrate and the evenness of the coil are more responsible for that.

    6. [...] crochet pieces are tiny speakers.  We wanted to embroider the actual speakers themselves, à la How To Get What You Want, but the sound just wasn’t strong enough.  We even bought some rare earth magnets, which [...]

    7. Christopher on July 11th, 2011

      Its nice to see they decided to make a pretty looking version before tackling the much bigger problem that the sound of flipping the fabric over was louder and more distinct then the actual speaker. You can find conventional speakers that are the same size and louder.

    8. admin on July 11th, 2011

      it is true that commercial speakers of the same size are much louder, much more energy efficient and produce better sound quality, but they are not made of fabric. this is an attempt at building speakers from a variety of different conductive materials, experimenting to see what results can be achieved. hopefully we can also start working towards optimizing the designs and materials selections to make fabric speakers that are better sounding and use less power.

    9. [...] been checking out ways of embeddings speakers into the fabrics too, courtesy of the amazing Kobakant website. WP_SLIDESHOW_IMAGES = { load: [...]

    10. james on January 20th, 2012

      if you make the coil tighter and longer, could it work as an R-fid reader?

    11. Plusea on August 9th, 2012

      [...] >> Instructable (coming soon…) >> Etsy >> Fabric Speakers [...]

    12. Plusea on September 9th, 2012

      [...] 29, 30 2012 Showing Fabric Spekaers, Textile Sensor Demos II and A Kit-of-No-Parts at the World Maker Faire in New York, [...]

    13. Fabric Speaker |   on October 2nd, 2012

      [...] I missed tech crafts on Friday — thus missing a presentation from Hannah Perner-Wilson from Kit of No Parts & How To Get What You Want, who showed us how to make a Fabric Speaker. [...]

    14. BBz on November 26th, 2012

      Amazing!

      Is it washable?

    15. Plusea on March 8th, 2013

      [...] Silent Pillow Speaker KIT >> Silent Pillow Speaker instructions >> Download booklet PDF (single-sided for screen viewing) >> Download booklet PDF (double-sided for [...]

    16. [...] the most amazing programmable textile site – http://www.kobakant.at/DIY with ideas like this fabric speaker, or the sewable LilyPad Arduino chip. I found these via Carol Torgan’s wearable technology [...]

    17. […] website met de Embroidered Fabric Speaker KIT Inspiratiebron […]

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