Monday, July 26, 2010

Acoustic Cloth Senses, Emits Sonic Signals

Piezoelectric transducers have enabled tiny electronic devices to sense and emit sound, but now MIT researchers have woven these fibers into a cloth that can turn your clothing into a combination microphones and speaker. Look for wearable acoustic cloth for for industry, military and consumer applications within five years. RColinJohnson @NextGenLog

Here is what Smarter Technology says about acoustic cloth: Researchers at MIT have developed a way to weave piezoelectric fibers, which can send and receive sound, into cloth. Possible applications include wearable microphones, hospital gowns that monitor vital signs and sonar imaging systems. Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) claim to have perfected "acoustic cloth"—a man-made fabric mass-produced from piezoelectric fibers that enables textiles to both sense and emit sound. Applications range from wearable microphones and iPod speakers to hospital gowns that act as medical monitors and underwater "sails" that perform sonar imaging. For the first time, piezoelectric fibers can be woven into fabrics containing millions of tiny acoustic transducers that act together to both sense and emit sound. Using the same equipment that makes optical fibers for communications, these new fibers can be woven into fabrics that act as wearable microphones and loudspeakers. Possible uses include biological sensors that measure medical quantities such as blood flow in capillaries, environmental monitors measuring the flow of water passing through them, and large-area sonar imaging systems for monitoring underwater activities.
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