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Fujifilm's flexible Beat speaker diaphragm lets us roll up the rhythm

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While there's been no shortage of rollable displays, rollable speakers are rare -- the softness needed for a bendy design is the very thing that would usually neuter the sound. Fujifilm's new Beat diaphragm manages to reconcile those seemingly conflicting requirements. The surface depends on a polymer that stays soft when the surface is being curled or folded, but hardens when subjected to the 20Hz to 20kHz audio range we'd expect from a speaker. Piezoelectric ceramics, in turn, provide the sound itself. The Beat system doesn't have any known customers, but Fujifilm has already shown some creative possibilities such as a folding fan speaker or the portable, retractable unit shown above. If we ever see the day when we tuck a set of speakers into our pockets as neatly as we do our phones, we'll know who to thank.

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