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Printed speakers make the photos sound


The Institute for Print and Media Technology at TU Chemnitz provided a picture book with printed electronics at the World Press Photo competition and, thus, created for each winning photograph its own sound environment

At the annual meeting of the 58th World Press Photo competition 2015, the world`s best press photos were presented on April 25th in Amsterdam, which was also the premier for a sonorous innovation from Chemnitz.

Marlene Klüßendorf, a student at the Print and Media Technology at TU Chemnitz, checks the quality of the screen for printing the loudspeakers.

Photo: TU Chemnitz/Pressefoto Schmidt

Scientists from the Institute for Print and Media Technology at Technische Universität Chemnitz equipped a large format picture book that shows the winning photos in brilliant quality with printed electronics. If you open this T-book – where the “T“ stands for tone – and flip through the book, it begins to produce sound from the speakers located inside the book pages.

“The T-book is a milestone in the development of printed information“, says Prof. Dr. Arved C. Hübler. He feels certain that the T-book developed by his team at the Institute for Print and Media Technology opens the door to many other developments: ”The tablets of the future will be printed on paper, and the T-book gives the first view of what will be possible.“

A printed sensor determines which book page was opened by the reader and then the appropriate sound is audible. The sound is generated loud and clear directly from the paper. The creative agency Serviceplan in Munich has developed the book in cooperation with the researchers of TU Chemnitz and created for each winning photograph their own environment in order to expand the voices, sounds and music captured by the photographer`s mood.

“The technology behind the sound book is really amazing“, said Cosimo Möller, Executive Creative Director at the Serviceplan Campaign, who steered the project from the very beginning. “When someone opens the book with the best photos of the year suddenly a page starts to vibrate, produces sound and tells its own story to the viewer. The book describes the background of the images and awakens the authentic emotions with voices and sounds. The photographs come still to life for the viewer.“

The T-book is based on printed electronics, a technology trend in which the Institute for Print and Media Technology at TU Chemnitz acts as a global leader for 15 years. Thereby the electronic components are printed on paper with conventional printing methods. This enables a cost-effective mass production. Three years ago, the researchers were able to present the first printed speakers.

In this case a thin layer of piezoelectric polymer is printed, which starts to vibrate under tension resulted in emitted tones. In order to feed the electrical signals, printed electrically conductive layers are needed in addition.

Scientists from Chemnitz developed the technology further for the T-book. The loudspeaker is laminated in between two parts of the book page, so that the front and back can be covered with a high-quality color printing. The data for the book with a total of 100 illustrated pages for the World Press Photo competition are given by an SD card, which is embedded in the book cover.

Batteries and control electronics are also hosted in the book cover. The binding of the book has been realized by Cornelia Ahnert from atelierBUCH in Lichtenau near Chemnitz. Parts of the new technology have been developed under the Federal Cluster of Excellence "Center for Advancing Electronics Dresden" (cfaed) at TU Chemnitz.

The film about the T-Book, which was shown during the annual meeting of the 58th World Press Photo competition, can be found on the YouTube Channel of TU Chemnitz. The TV report of the SACHSEN FERNSEHEN can also be viewed on the YouTube Channel.

More information about T-book at:

Contact: Prof. Dr. Arved C. Hübler, Phone +49 371 531-23610, Email

Katharina Thehos | Technische Universität Chemnitz
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