Israeli audio pioneer Waves Audio is going to develop an innovative electrostatic speaker using a nanoscale active membrane based on graphene in collaboration with the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
The new speaker will hopefully achieve significant energy savings, and so Waves and the Virginia Polytechnic recieved funding from the US Department of Energy (DOE) and Israel's Ministry of National Infrastructure. The funding was part of the BIRD Energy program. This was one of five projects that were together received $4 million funding.
Graphene membranes based speakers have been under development for a long time. Graphene can enable very thin membranes and these speakers prove to be highly accurate - in addition to being more efficient (as less energy is required to move the membrane). The first research in this area was presented in 2011 when researchers from Seoul's National University developed a transparent and lightweight speaker made from Graphene.
In 2013 researchers demonstrated that a graphene-based speaker can outperform even the best commercially-available earphones. A few days ago it was reported that Xiaomi's latest Piston 3 Pro earphones make use of a graphene membrane. This is not confirmed by Xiaomi's yet.
Another interesting research was published two months ago, when researchers at Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) have developed a new graphene-oxide based thermoacoustic speaker that does not require an acoustic box to produce sound - thermoacoustics is based on the idea that sound can be produced by the rapid heating and cooling of a material instead of through vibrations.