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Acoustics

— Music

IK sounds out fingerpickers with the iRig Acoustic

For a good long while now, IK Multimedia has been helping to satisfy the mobile noodling needs of electric git-fiddlers with a succession of instrument interfaces that bridge the gap between a smart device hosting digital effects and amp simulations and a plank of wood, some pickups and a few strands of tensioned steel. Now the company is taking aim at dreadnought picker types with the iRig Acoustic, which is billed as the first acoustic guitar mobile microphone/interface specifically made for acoustic guitars and ukuleles, and one that's claimed to rival pro-grade studio microphones.

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— Electronics

Are sound waves a better way to move data?

Researchers from the University of Leeds and Sheffield University have created a way to move data through magnetic nanowires by using surface acoustic waves as the motivating force. Being developed for use in so-called racetrack solid-state memory, the researchers claim that using sound waves for data transfer should markedly increase computer processing speeds while vastly reducing power consumption.

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— Physics

Sonic tractor beam forms acoustic holograms to lift objects

Last year, researchers at the University of Dundee revealed an acoustic tractor beam that used ultrasonic energy to pull macroscopic objects in. Now researchers in the UK have developed a sonic tractor beam that generates acoustic holograms through the manipulation of high-amplitude sound waves. These acoustic holograms, which can take various shapes, such as fingers, cages and vortexes, are able to pick up and move small objects like polystyrene beads.

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— Music

Jumbo and Shorty plug up guitar's soundhole for improved tone

Players wanting to change the sound or timbre of an acoustic guitar, or just clear up any nasty tone issues or feedback, can look to digital processing or post-production for help. But Keeler Sound's Performer Series sound processors for nylon and steel string instruments make use of pipes and ports for the promise of an as-the-music-happens "perfectly balanced tone." Swapping out a unit's diaphragm, or not using one at all, will also alter the tone of the guitar.

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— Aircraft

Thin rubber membrane keeps a lid on cabin noise

In modern airliners, much of the structural paneling used in the cabin and wings has a honeycomb-like structure. Although this helps keep the weight down while maintaining strength, it does a poor job at blocking noise within the aircraft. That's why researchers from North Carolina State University and MIT have developed a membrane that helps the panels to do so. Read More
— Good Thinking

Ear-IT project: How listening to the sounds of a city could make for smarter living

As the Internet of Things starts to take hold, we're seeing the emergence of gadgets equipped with all kinds of sensors to improve the world around us, from energy-saving climate control systems to smart locks for the front door. But have you ever thought about how sound might be measured and used to bring another level of automation? For the last two years, the Ear-IT project has been monitoring acoustics in the Spanish city of Santander, and says the results could improve the lives of its residents in ways ranging from improved traffic flow to energy savings in the home. Read More
— Music

ToneWoodAmp pushes digital effects through an acoustic guitar's body

Acoustic players looking to augment the natural sound of their guitars with live effects may well have to succumb to a world of cables, amps and stomps to do so. Ofer and Helene Webman out of Phoenix, AZ, have developed a smartphone-sized box called the ToneWoodAmp – or Twamp for short – that brings the kind of effects enjoyed by electric guitarists to acoustic pickers without needing to route the instrument through a big power amp. Read More
— Science

Acoustic bottle beams hold promise for acoustic imaging, cloaking and levitation

Using a technique that has possible applications in acoustic cloaking, sonic levitation, ultrasonic imaging, and particle manipulation, scientists at the University of California Berkeley claim to have produced a "bottle" beam of acoustic energy in open air that can precisely redirect sound waves. Able to bend these waves along set trajectories without the need for waveguides or other mechanical assistance, the bottle beam is also able to flow around objects in its path while maintaining its shape. Read More
— Science

Acoustic tractor beam pulls in macroscopic objects

The tractor beam is a staple of science fiction. Aliens use them to haul up unwilling earthlings onto flying saucers, and spacecraft use them to seize enemy ships or tow captured objects around in space. Now a group of researchers working at the University of Dundee actually claim to have built one. But instead of lasers, it uses ultrasonic waves to pull macroscopic objects in. Read More
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