21 Mar 2009
A new technological principle to reproduce high-fidelity sound , not involving vibrating membranes .
But using the technology as a cheap sensor-speaker pair in a feedback loop can have major influences on human behaviour .
This does not sound like much , but involves literally billions of dollars .
Think iPods , music systems , etc .
Quote from SciAm of Feb 2009 p17 "Sounds like thunder"
"When an audio-frequency current was applied to stretchable , transparent films of 10 nanometer thick carbon nanotubes , physicists at the Tsingua-Foxconn Nanotechnology Research Center in Beijing unexpectedly discovered they can make sounds as loud as commercial speakers."
See also "Nano Letters" of 29 Oct 2008 (online).
The theory is that the electrified nanotubes heat and expand the air near them in pattern with the electrical current . And since sound-waves are very low energy , not much energy is required . No vibrating membranes required .
This speaker is flexible (can be woven into clothing , flags , etc) .
So far so good . Only billions of dollars are involved .
Any output-mechanism can be , in principle , used as a input-mechanism (sensor , in this case )
This makes cheap biofeedback systems inevitable .
Heat-variation ->Electrical Current variation ->Speaker .
An athlete or patient can hear bio-processes in real-time , cheaply .
This is a cheap and ubiquitous prosthetic nervous-system .
Of great use for things like high bloodpressure , sex , diabetic complications , etc, etc .
Add in a smart chip in the loop , and all sorts of things are possible .
This is basically optimizing human behaviour , ie changing it .
This is one of those innocuous-seeming technologies that has major ramifications (Think of the motor-car) .
Especially since it has such an enormous base . (Music is one of the largest industries on the planet .)
Note the American-Chinese Attractor Basin developing in nanotechnology .
A nice challenge to the social process , when each person can march to his own drummer .
Happy listening .