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Sound

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

Architecture

Novel windows block out noise but let in fresh air

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

Music

Sonik Spring combines audio manipulation with what looks like a Slinky

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

Music

Music-playing beer bottle inspired by Edison's cylinder phonograph

In the 1870s, Heinrich Beck founded what would eventually become Beck's Brewery. At about the same time, Thomas Edison was hard at work on creating the first phonograph. It's a safe bet neither man thought the two products would ever merge, but when the New Zealand branch of Beck's wanted to promote a new record label project, the company turned to design agency, Shine Limited to do exactly that. The designers concocted the Edison bottle, a simple glass beer bottle inscribed with music that can be played like a 19th-century phonograph cylinder.Read More

DropShades: Sound-reactive sunglasses brighten up the party

If you're the person at a party who likes to be noticed, then donning a pair of sunglasses which react to sound may be just what you've always wanted. Such a thing now exists, at least in prototype form, with DropShades taking the Kanye West-style shutter shades design and adding multi-colored LED lights to the equation.Read More

Electronics

Hand-held "sound camera" shows you the source of noises

If you work with machinery, engines or appliances of any type, then you’ve likely experienced the frustration of hearing a troublesome noise coming from somewhere, but not being able to pinpoint where. If only you could just grab a camera, and take a picture that showed you the noise’s location. Well, soon you should be able to do so, as that’s just what the SeeSV-S205 sound camera does. Read More

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