A gel-based electronic speaker that transmits current via ionic charges rather than electrons may point the way to a variety of new devices. The human body uses ionic-charge transmission, making this technology particularly suitable for implants and artificial muscle. "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," said Christoph Keplinger, one of the researchers on the project at Harvard University.

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