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Acoustics

— Around The Home

WiSPr acoustic termite detector works by "hearing" termites eat

By - January 16, 2012 1 Picture
Thanks to their habit of remaining concealed, the first indication people get that termites have invaded their home is after they’ve already wreaked their particular brand of wood-eating havoc. According to Associate Professor Adam Osseiran of Western Australia’s Edith Cowan University, the yearly damage bill in the U.S. for termite damage tops US$12 billion, while in Australia they cause an estimated $1 to $3 billion damage each year. In attempt to reduce such damage, Osseiran and his team have developed an acoustic sensor that is so sensitive it can detect termite infestation by “hearing” them chew through timber. Read More
— Music

Highly resonant wood could be commercially produced for Stradivarius-quality "fungus violins"

By - December 9, 2011 3 Pictures
Earlier this week, we brought you the story of a radiologist and two violin-makers, who used computed tomography (CT) imaging to create a copy of a 1704 Stradivarius violin. The instrument that they produced was almost an exact replica of the original, as far as the shape, thickness and volume of its wooden parts was concerned. As one of our readers pointed out, however, much of the tonal quality of Stradivari's instruments was likely due to the microstructure and resonance characteristics of the wood of which they were made, caused by the growing conditions at the time. Well, it turns out that someone is working on reproducing that aspect of the violins, too. Read More
— Music Feature

Ministar travel guitars - it's all in the neck

Guitarists who travel a lot and want to take an instrument along for the ride - but don't want to risk damaging that prized vintage Strat - might find themselves turning in the direction of a scaled down stand-in. Such solutions come in many different shapes and sizes - from full size instruments with parts that collapse (like Daniel Mapp's Jetson travel guitar concept) to models with a shortened neck and small bodies (such as Martin's Backpacker) to strange-looking beasts with tuners positioned in a hollowed out section of the body (like the Traveler's Speedster). Bob Wiley's Ministar guitars, though, are essentially a bunch of necks with pickups. While there is a model with a shortened 19-inch scale neck, most of the odd-looking electric, acoustic and bass guitars sport full length necks and, says Wiley, play and sound just like the big brand models, but at a fraction of the price - and a fraction of the size. Read More
— Music

Laser "sound visualizer" may lead to better loudspeakers

By - November 9, 2011 2 Pictures
We've been following the quest for the world's best speakers for some time but remarkably, there's still room for improvement. A key issue that plagues proper sound reproduction (and thus its perceived quality) is a phenomenon known as deconstructive interference. This occurs when audio signals overlap and cancel one another out, creating dead spots which, until recently, have been very difficult to track. Now, a team from Britain's National Physical Laboratory (NPL) has figured out a clever way to make speaker sound "visible" - and they do it with laser light. Read More
— Around The Home

Acoustic Alarm clock replaces buzzer with strings

By - September 27, 2011 3 Pictures
We’ve heard about alarm clocks that jolt you awake with 113 decibels of sound while shaking your bed, that won’t stop ringing until you’ve done your exercises, or that you have to chase across the room. If you want to be woken in a more civilized, serene fashion, however, you might like the Acoustic Alarm – should it ever become commercially available, that is. Instead of an annoying beep, buzz or radio DJ, the one-off design exercise uses a motorized pic to strum four guitar strings, in order to gently rouse its user. Read More
— Science

Acoustic diode allows sound waves to only travel in one direction

By - July 27, 2011 1 Picture
When it comes to the sound-proofing of buildings, most people likely think of using materials that simply absorb the sound waves in a noisy room, so they can't proceed into a neighboring quiet room. Researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), however, are taking a different approach. They have created something known as an acoustic diode, that only allows sound traveling through it to go in one direction. If incorporated into building materials, such diodes would let sound travel from the quiet room to the noisy one, but would simply block noise transmission in the opposite direction. Read More
— Around The Home

Philips to develop LED-illuminated wallpapers

By - July 14, 2011 3 Pictures
The future of ambient lighting might lay in glowing walls, according to Philips. The company has announced its plans to develop wallpapers containing integrated LEDs. The luminous sound-absorbing textiles would glow in variety of colors accordingly to the user's requirements. To develop the luminous wallpaper panels, Philips is collaborating with customizable acoustic panels manufacturer Kvadrat Soft Cells, based in Denmark. Read More
— Music

iBamboo speaker: the Zen of iPhone docks

By - June 16, 2011 14 Pictures
Using earphones to listen to music while on the move can make long-haul journeys seem a whole lot shorter and enjoyable, but there are times when you want to share your tunes with others. While there are numerous house-bound docking solutions available, music lovers on the road need something mobile that's able to keep its own batteries topped up or that doesn't require any batteries at all. The iBamboo speaker from designer Anatoliy Omelchenko of Triangle Tree is said to use the natural acoustic resonance of bamboo to deliver a power-free boost to the audio coming from the built-in speaker of a docked iPhone 4. Read More
— Good Thinking

Sound-absorbing curtains let the light shine through

Heavy curtains made from thick material such as velvet are often needed to keep noise out of indoor environments, but Swiss researchers have come up with another option. The Empa researchers, in collaboration with textile designer Annette Douglas and silk weavers Weisbrod-Zurrer AG, have developed lightweight, translucent curtains which are five times more effective at absorbing sound than their conventional counterparts. Read More
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