Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Sound

Wear is designed to help those with hearing difficulties make sense of conversations in no...

From hiding hearing aids in your mouth to having them built-in to the arms of your glasses, we have seen some innovative efforts to assist those with hearing difficulties in recent years. With these unobtrusive technologies available, you might think that wearing a hearing aid around your neck would be the least desirable of options. Yet the team behind Wear believe that by favoring comfort and aesthetics over discretion, it may have conceived a viable alternative.  Read More

The Metaphone, by Herault Arnod Architects (Photo: André Morin)

Though not unheard of, the melding of architecture and music is uncommon enough to pique our interest, especially when done on the scale of The Metaphone, by Herault Arnod Architects. The firm recently constructed an unusual combined music hall and instrument as centerpiece of an ongoing project to regenerate a former coal mine in the Pas-de-Calais region of northern France.  Read More

Gramovox's Bluetooth Gramophone blends the old with the new

Chicago-based company Gramovox has merged the old with the new in its Bluetooth Gramophone. The fusion of vintage audio device and modern technology takes the form of a 3:4 scale replica of the R3 Magnavox horn speaker and packs a Bluetooth 3.0 module to allow wireless connection of mobile devices.  Read More

Ototo turns everyday objects into musical instruments

London-based creative design and invention studio Dentaku has developed a small device that allows users to create their own musical instruments out of everyday items. The Ototo is a simple printed circuit board (PCB) synthesizer that combines sensors, inputs and touchpads as a means of producing sounds. The device can be used as a keyboard straight out of the box or can be attached to conductive materials using crocodile clips to create entirely new instruments.  Read More

The Sound Band doesn't use speakers to play back sound

Generally, when you think of headphones, you imagine small speakers that either sit in or over your ear. The Sound Band is different, as it doesn't feature any speakers at all. Instead, it uses surface sound technology, which means the user's ears are left open to take in the sounds around them.  Read More

The movement of levitated objects - here a toothpick - is possible by varying the acoustic...

With the exception of magic, the process of levitating objects generally relies on magnetism or electric fields. However, sound waves can also be used to cancel out the effects of gravity to suspend objects and droplets of liquid in mid air. For the first time, researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH) have been able to control the movement of such levitating objects. Besides looking cool, the technology has implications for the study of various chemical reactions and biological processes and the development and production of pharmaceuticals and electronics.  Read More

STMicrosystem's new stereo digital audio amplifier

If you can find one, the new STA333IS digital audio chip and power amplifier from STMicroelectronics (STM) offers a quick and easy solution for converting digital audio into a 10 watt/channel stereo for anything from a boom box to a backyard sound system. Don't misunderstand, they currently are at distributors, selling for about one US dollar apiece. The problem is literally finding the chips. At about one-eighth the volume of a grain of rice and weighing only a few milligrams, drop one on a carpet and its gone for good.  Read More

NearBytes uses sound to transfer data between devices

NFC has been hailed as the next big thing for a few years now, but adoption has been a lot slower than anticipated with people required to update their phones to NFC-capable models to take advantage of the technology. Brazilian startup Kinetics has developed a new communication technology called NearBytes that allows data transfer between older smartphones, including all existing Android and iOS smartphones, by using sound.  Read More

A prototype window design that lets air pass through, but attenuates outside sounds by 30-...

There are few things better than lazing around the house on a warm summer day, whose fragrant zephyrs speak of spicy isles and heaven-breathing groves.* At least, until the neighbors start their leaf-blowers and the city needs to tear up the sidewalks. Noise pollution is one of the scourges of urban and suburban life, which can drown out nature's melodies to cause annoyance, stress, and hearing loss. Now, however, a team of South Korean engineers has invented a remarkable window that lets air in while keeping a great deal of noise out.  Read More

Inventor Tomás Henriques' son Tristan, playing the Sonik Spring

Not long ago, Buffalo State University music professor Tomás Henriques set out to develop a digital accordion. While that in itself would have been newsworthy, what he ended up creating could ultimately have a lot more significance. Known as the Sonik Spring, Henriques’ device may find use not only in the field of music, but also as a means of physical rehabilitation.  Read More

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