A new type of speaker made out of a thin, clear gel could point the way for TVs to come with sound systems built right onto the screen.
Developed at Harvard University, the 'Ionic' speaker is made of a sheet of rubber inserted between layers of gel. Using a high-voltage signal sent across the gel, the layers force the rubber to vibrate - thus creating sound.
The speakers are able to made noise which runs across the entire audible spectrum, from 20 hertz to 20 kilohertz. As well as speakers it is possible the film could be used to make noise-cancelling windows which actively prevent noise transmitting across the surface of the glass.
In a press release, the team claim their invention is a world first:
"It represents the first demonstration that electrical charges carried by ions, rather than electrons, can be put to meaningful use in fast-moving, high-voltage devices."
"The big vision is soft machines," says co-lead author Christoph Keplinger, who worked on the project as a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard SEAS and in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, in a press release.
"Engineered ionic systems can achieve a lot of functions that our body has: they can sense, they can conduct a signal, and they can actuate movement. We're really approaching the type of soft machine that biology has to offer."
Jawbone Mini Jambox
Jawbone's Mini Jambox takes the same basic styling as the larger model, and shrinks down the form-factor without compromising too much on the sound. It starts at £149, and for the price it's a great piece of kit. It weighs just 9 ounces, and offers 75 hours of standby battery (10 hours playtime) on a single charge.
We're <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/07/23/sonos-system-review-playbar_n_3639336.html">huge fans</a> of the Sonos system, which allows you to easily and wirelessly connect a range of speakers into a network around your home, and play a massive amount of content through a dedicated app. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/10/23/sonos-play-1-speaker-review_n_4148934.html" target="_blank">The Play:1s are among our favourite Sonos components yet</a> - small, neat, compact and with excellent sound quality. They're the gateway drug to the most complete audio solution in the world. (£<a href="http://www.sonos.com/shop/products/play1" target="_blank">169</a>)
The Orbtisound T9 Soundbar works perfectly both with your TV and your iPhone or iPod, since it comes with great, full-room sound as well as a built-in charger. (£<a href="http://www.amazon.co.uk/Orbitsound-OST9B-T9-Soundbar-Black/dp/B008RXXLGM/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1369835876&sr=1-1&keywords=Orbitsound+T9" target="_blank">189</a>)
Philips Fidelio P9
<a href="http://www.amazon.co.uk/Philips-P9BLK-10-Bluetooth-Wireless/dp/B009HP5V7G/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1369836152&sr=1-1&keywords=Philips+Fidelio+P9" target="_blank">For £239 you're getting a legitimately excellent Bluetooth portable</a> speaker with grown-up styling, soft dome tweets, a high-performance amp and a USB port to charge your phone or music player if you need to get an extra boost.
PMC Twenty 23
These are some seriously expensive speakers (£2,100) but <a href="http://www.whathifi.com/review/pmc-twenty-23" target="_blank">according to What HiFi</a>, they're worth every penny, with rich, deep, booming sound able to deal with the highest-fidelity recordings and reproduce them with wonderful quality in a luxury at-home setting.
The new Soundtouch range by Bose combines the company's deservedly famous sound quality with a new, simple and easy way to connect your speakers wirelessly, around your home. With a dedicated app, a focus on 'presets' to make playing music as quick as turning on a light and a range of components at decent prices, it seems like an easy win. They're a bit outgunned in the content stakes right now - <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/10/09/bose-soundtouch-hands-on-impressions_n_4071147.html" target="_blank">but for sound quality it's right up there.</a>
Monitor Audio Bronze BX2
<a href="http://www.whathifi.com/Review/Monitor-Audio-Bronze-BX2/" target="_blank">Simply put, these are five-star speakers</a> for less than £350. They're handsome, timeless and sound amazing.
Joey Roth Ceramic Speaker
<a href="http://joeyroth.com/ceramic-speakers/" target="_blank">These are among the most unique speakers you can buy</a>. They're not cheap, but they sound great - and you'll never need to buy another conversation starter for your living room again. All anyone will want to talk about is your HiFi.
Ultimate Ears UE Boom
The UE Boom is a Bluetooth, iOS and Android compatible wireless speaker that features great 360-degree sound. UE pitch it as the first "social" speaker since it can connect to two source devices at the same time. It's also stain and water resistant and has a 15-hour battery - and gorgeous styling.