Despite creative acoustic design, concert halls can’t be one-size-fits-all places — all music is different, and some things may just sound better than others in a given location. But this new concept could change all that, morphing the shape and size of ceilings and walls to dynamically adapt to the sound of performers and individual performances.
Dolby Laboratories announced a new audio system this week, called Dolby Atmos, that the company calls "an entirely new viewing experience for theatergoers." It's kind of a next-generation surround sound, blanketing the theater with sound--instead of coming from typical left and right channels, sound will come from as many directions as there are speakers, including above and below.
Nature’s toughest fiber can make bulletproof vests, future sutures, and even be engineered to come out of goat milk. Now a Japanese researcher has gone one step further, using spider silk for art. Specifically, a set of violin strings, which apparently have a “soft and profound timbre.”
Anyone who has ever tried to record that first feature-length album in his or her dad’s garage knows that reflecting, suppressing, and otherwise manipulating sound isn’t as simple as it might seems. We’ve got that egg-carton foam that offers some soundproofing, but beyond such muting materials we have few mature technologies that let us control the way sound travels. But Caltech researchers are working to change that via the first tunable, acoustic diode that can be used to let sound flow in one direction only.
A new acoustic invisibility cloak made of a plastic metamaterial makes objects invisible to sound waves, researchers say. It could be used to shield ships from sonar, or build better soundproof walls for concert halls and other spaces. We’ve seen this idea before, but now Duke University researchers have actually built it.
Those one-way mirrors made famous by cop dramas aren’t actually one-way. They simply play off the differences in light on each side. That is, if the lights were equally as bright behind the mirror as in front, that rattled suspect could see right through to the cops on the other side.
She manipulates simple laws of physics to create “bullets” made of sound waves
By Bjorn Carey
Posted 11.30.2010 at 11:58 am 4 Comments
Chiara Daraio loves the pick and roll. As a former member of Italy's junior national basketball team, she knows that although the effect of the play is complex and devastating, its parts are simple. It goes like this: Daraio blocks a defender’s path, her teammate darts past, Daraio rotates away from the pursuing defender and waits, unguarded, for her teammate's quick pass and an open shot. Pick. Roll. Pass. Shoot. It's a straightforward process with a sophisticated result.
Inspiration comes from the strangest places. A falling apple supposedly inspired Newton’s laws, and now a desktop ornament bearing Newton’s name has inspired a new acoustic weapon that both militaries and hospitals can keep in their arsenals: sub-sinking, tumor killing “sound bullets.”
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.