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.
Hearing loss from weapons and explosive devices has been the No. 1 disability in this country’s modern military conflicts, saddling thousands of veterans with anything from tinnitus to deafness. Now a new generation of laser-based implants promises to restore their hearing — and that of civilians, too — with higher resolution than existing technology.
At a cocktail party, during a baseball game or in any other crowded, noisy place, your brain has to do some high-level filtering so you can separate important sounds from the clanking background. Turning your head helps with this, and researchers are studying how these head movements cause a shift in auditory perception. A team in Japan did the natural thing and used a humanoid robot to figure it out. Watch below as it affably mimics a headphone-wearing human.
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.”
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.
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.”
Hong Kong researchers have combined simple latex with some plastic buttons to create metamaterial panels that can stop sound waves very effectively, according to New Scientist. The reflected sound waves include low-frequency bass sounds that typically manage to sneak through the walls.
Imaging an unborn fetus and and spotting a lurking submarine could both become much easier with the world's first acoustic hyperlens. The device manipulates imaging sound waves to provide an eightfold increase in the magnification power of technologies such as ultrasound and sonar.
Thanks to a new approach to one of microfluidics' biggest challenges -- how do you propel fluid in a number of directions at once without the clutter of myriad electromechanical valves and pumps? -- we could be closer to seeing our smartphones double as home flu kits. Credit goes to a team of chemical engineers at the University of Michigan for coming up with the innovative system, which uses music to control the fluid.
A new material created by researchers can refocus sound around certain objects and effectively render them sonically invisible to sonar. No natural material can do this, so man-made “metamaterials” must be created in order to toy with the laws of physics to essentially bend sound back on itself. Mind blown yet?
The "Ruben's Tube" demonstration shown in the video gives a dramatic and visual representation of sound waves creating standing waves in a pipe. Whether or not you light the gas, once the speaker is on, there are sound waves traveling back and forth along the tube. Sound waves consist of alternating regions of high and low pressure. But by igniting the gas in the tube and allowing it to escape out of the holes cut into the top, we can see where the pressure is high and where it is low.
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.