They're thin but they're also very, very deep - a new type of ultra-thin loudspeakers that can reproduce a full range of frequencies.

Scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany demonstrated at IFA the latest super-skinny speakers that they say can match traditional 'box' loudspeakers.

They work using an array of tiny speakers working together, rather than a single set of drivers.

Invisible speakers

The ultra-flat loudspeakers are ideally suited for multichannel set-ups and the Ioson audio system. Based on the principle of wave field synthesis, Ioson produces a realistic spatial sound field throughout the entire listening area with the help of a large number of small loudspeakers arranged in a ring. Thanks to the new design, this large number of loudspeakers can now be discreetly integrated into the surroundings.

Their inventor, Dr Sandra Brix, says, "Even if these flat panel loudspeakers are placed directly on the wall or integrated into media equipment or furniture, they can reproduce a frequency range from 100 hertz to 20 kilohertz. Conventional flat panel loudspeakers can achieve response characteristics at this level only if kept at a certain minimum distance from the wall."

Brix predicts that the new technology will find its way into ICE systems and new aircrafts, but also into places like spas and hotels that want high-quality audio with no visual distractions.