Flat-panel speakers are nothing new, but a new version of the tech could one day replace boomy public address systems with hidden speakers that produce easier-to-hear audio in large spaces. Under development at the University of Warwick, FFL ("flat flexible loudspeaker") speakers are actually a thin laminate made of layers of conducting and insulating material that resonate when electricity is passed through them -- the crisper, clearer audio is a result of the entire surface creating sound in phase at once, which allows it to produce highly directional audio. Since they're so thin and flexible, FFL speakers can be hidden nearly anywhere -- behind signage, in the ceiling, or even painted and hung directly on the wall. Of course, this'll all come to nothing if the sound quality isn't up to snuff, but we'll find out more when the first commercial FFL product goes on sale later this year.

[Via PhysOrg]