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Acoustics

Environment

Acoustic buoy lets scientists eavesdrop on whales in real-time

Whales inhabiting the waters off of New York and New Jersey can now be heard in real-time thanks to an acoustic monitoring buoy created by a consortium of marine scientists from the Wildlife Conservation Society's (WCS) New York Aquarium and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). The hi-tech device allows the group to track – and better study and protect – several species of endangered baleen whales found year-round in the busy waters of the New York Bight.Read More

Wearables Review

Interview with the inventor: Nura's adaptive headphones turn our understanding of hearing on its head

Your perception of sound and mine are very, very different. That's why my favorite headphones sound tinny and awful to you, and yours sound woofy and messy to me. People's ears vary so much in physiology that it's like we each get a randomized graphic equalizer at birth, with up to 20 decibel swings each way as we go up and down the audible frequency spectrum. Even your left and right ear are different from one another. Nura's adaptive headphones measure these differences with a short test, then tune themselves so that they sound amazing for every listener. We had a chance to pass them around the Gizmag office and speak with Nura co-founder Kyle Slater. And while it wasn't a surprise that they sounded fantastic, what really blew us away was how terrible they sounded when we tried each other's sonic profiles.Read More

Materials

Acoustic metasurface design completely absorbs low frequency sound

Absorbing low frequency sound is a big job, or at least, a job for big things. Acoustic absorption systems require big resonant cavities with large amounts of heavy damping material and significant surface areas to work efficiently. Consequently, the sound-deadening systems used in music studios and anechoic chambers take up a lot of room. Now scientists have flipped this notion on its head by designing coiled metasurfaces that not only completely absorb low frequency sounds, but are a tiny fraction of the size of traditional sound-absorbing systems.Read More

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.Read More

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.Read More

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.Read More

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.Read More

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

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