more top stories »


— Music

Iconic Sound looks to light for signal clarity

Before an adoring public can begin to appreciate your axe-wielding wizardry, the signal from your electric guitar will probably need to make its way down some copper cable to get to the Marshall stack. On the way, the tone of the guitar can get flavored, capacitance can cause frequency loss, and if you're really unlucky, the to and fro of nearby taxi conversations can add some unexpected color to a performance. The Light Lead from London's Iconic Sound promises the kind of signal clarity that many players might very well kill for. Claimed to be the world's first optical analog jack-to-jack guitar cable, it's touted to have zero capacitance, zero loading, electrical safety and a virtually infinite lifespan. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

Wear takes a fashionable approach to hearing aids

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
— Music

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
— Science

Surfing on a wave of sound allows controlled movement of levitating objects

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
— Electronics

Tiny digital chip delivers up to 20 W audio output

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
— Mobile Technology

NearBytes sounds like an NFC alternative

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