Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Acoustics

The Konzerthaus Blaibach when empty (Photo: Edward Beierle)

Buildings that contain auditoriums generally need to be large in order to fit tiered seating inside. A recently completed concert hall in Blaibach, Germany, however, creates this tiered effect in a simpler way. The whole building slopes down towards the front of the performance space.  Read More

The researchers behind the Ear-IT project say a city's acoustics can help reduce traffic c...

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

The ToneWoodAmp from Ofer and Helene Webman

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

The sound energy forms a 3D acoustic bottle of high-pressure walls and a null region in th...

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

Researchers at the University of Dundee have created an acoustic tractor beam that uses ul...

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

The acoustic cloak was constructed from several sheets of plastic plates dotted with repea...

Metamaterials are already being used to create invisibility cloaks and "temporal cloaks," but now engineers from Duke University have turned metamaterials to the task of creating a 3D acoustic cloak. In the same way that invisibility cloaks use metamaterials to reroute light around an object, the acoustic cloaking device interacts with sound waves to make it appear as if the device and anything hidden beneath it isn't there.  Read More

The world's first one-way acoustic circulator controls the direction of sound waves, allow...

A team of researchers at the University of Texas At Austin's Cockrell School of Engineering has effectively disproved the adage that, “if you can hear you can be heard” by creating the world's first one-way acoustic circulator. The simple, compact device, which controls the direction of sound waves, allows the user to hear without being heard.  Read More

Guitarist Mike Rowell plays the Bouillez acoustic

If you go shopping for an acoustic guitar, the chances are you'll be greeted with many variations on the same theme – a contoured wooden box with a hole between the bridge and the high end of the neck. The Bouillez (pronounced Bull-yah) dares to be different. Its creator Dan Bouillez has lopped off the fixed soundboard of a cheap, kick-about acoustic and replaced it with a floating one that gives the instrument a striking look and unique tone. With a great-sounding prototype in the bag, the self-taught musician and engineer has just started to build the very first production model.  Read More

The Aristides 070 guitar will debut at NAMM 2014

Ask just about any seasoned guitarist what gives an instrument that special something and you'd be lucky if the reply wasn't "wood." Yet manufacturers have made numerous axes over the years with claimed great tone, but without so much of a splinter of exotic tonewood in sight. Few have been so bold as to say that their material of choice doesn't just equal vintage wood, but improves on it. Aristides Instruments out of the Netherlands is one such upstart, and will be showing off its latest seven-string Arium creation at the NAMM 2014 show in January.  Read More

Tel Aviv University's new building, featuring its EcoWall (Image: Axelrod-Grobman Architec...

A new building at Tel Aviv University features a standalone EcoWall that aims to provide vertical garden space and research facilities for its faculty. The university's Porter School of Environmental Studies (PSES) hopes that its new green building design will not only join the small number of LEED certified buildings in the country, but will also highlight sustainable methodologies for future buildings in Israel.  Read More

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