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Sound

The Steampunk Plasma Speaker's resonance coil creates an electromagnetic field sufficient ...

So, you've downloaded some songs by Abney Park (one of the world's few steampunk bands) onto your Datamancer laptop or your Old Time Computers-accessorized PC ... do you just listen to them through the built-in speakers? Not if you're Polish tinkerer Conscious Flesh. He has created a speaker that not only looks delightfully mad-Victorian-scientist-esque, but it actually produces sound using plasma discharges. Nikola Tesla would definitely approve.  Read More

The 'Exposed' speakers are made of concrete, and utilize horn loudspeaker technology (Phot...

We've seen a number of unusual speakers before, such as the Whamodyne glass speakers or Solid Acoustics' dodecahedron speakers, but concrete speakers are definitely something new. It's definitely not a very popular material for audio systems, but Israeli designer Shmuel Linski would like to change that with his "Exposed" concrete speakers, each of which weighs 123 pounds (56 kg). They're just one part of his line of unusual creations, that include a concrete coffee maker and a concrete canoe.  Read More

The experimental EYE 21 system assigns sounds to objects, allowing blind people to be awar...

Engineers from the Research Center for Graphic Technologies at Spain's Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV) have created an experimental system, that allows the blind to be aware of their surroundings through the use of sound. Called EYE 21, it consists of a pair of sunglasses with two built-in micro video cameras, a computer, and a pair of headphones. It's similar to sonar systems that have been used to achieve the same goal.  Read More

A new type of hydrophone, inspired by the ears of orcas, is reportedly much more sensitive...

Given how poorly light and radio signals are able to travel underwater, sound is still the best medium for wireless undersea communications. Conventional underwater microphones – or hydrophones – have their limitations, however. One of their main problems is that the deeper they go, the less sensitive they become. Scientists from California’s Stanford University have now found a solution to that problem, in the form of a hydrophone that is designed to perform like an orca’s ear.  Read More

Owners of vehicles that exceed local allowable noise levels could start automatically gett...

It’s a situation that everyone has experienced – you’re walking down the street, when a vehicle drives by that’s so loud, people cover their ears and cast angry glances at the driver. You assume that it’s illegal to use a muffler that’s so ineffective, or to have a stereo turned up that high, but if it is ... how come so many people seemingly get away with it? Well, part of the reason is manpower. While speeders and red-light-runners can be ticketed in the thousands using automated systems, actual police officers need to go out and manually check cars and motorcycles for noise violations. The designer of Noise Snare, however, claims that his unmanned system can automatically detect and identify overly-audible vehicles.  Read More

'Quelching' noise as well as light and translucent, a combination that has been lacking in...

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

Owsley “Bear” Stanley, pioneering audio engineer for the Grateful Dead, died in a car crash near his home in Australia on March 13. The sound designer, artist, and counterculture icon was perhaps best known for producing massive amounts of LSD during the psychedelic 1960s. But it was his groundbreaking sound work that may have the most lasting effect on rock musicians and audiences.  Read More

A new algorithmic system that automatically identifies underwater sounds in real time has ...

It’s always upsetting to hear about whales beaching themselves, and one of the leading theories on the phenomenon suggests that it may sometimes be due to noise pollution in the oceans. Whales navigate and communicate via sound, so it’s entirely possible that human-introduced noises (such as those produced by ships, oil rigs, or naval navigational beacons) could confuse them, and throw them off course – it has even been posited that noises such as military sonar could deafen or kill them. In an effort to better understand the link between ocean noises and whale well-being, researchers from Spain’s Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) have developed a first-ever system that identifies undersea sounds – both human and cetacean – in real time.  Read More

FuzzHugger has released a limited run of a new battery-powered overdrive/fuzz practice amp...

FuzzHugger has just unleashed a portable, battery-powered amp that packs some serious volume and gorgeous 1960s fuzz tones into a pipe housing. The appropriately named Pipe Amp is about the size of a vintage effects pedal, doesn't have its own clean channel and can be used to drive a 4 x 12 cabinet. The fact that each one is hand-built and available in strictly limited quantities only adds to its must-have charm. Let the fuzz begin...  Read More

The AudioScope microphone dish

Imagine if you were watching television coverage of a football game, where none of the cameras could zoom in. It would be pretty frustrating, just having to go from one wide shot to another, never being able to get a close look at any of the players. That’s pretty much how things are with audio, however. Unless someone has their own microphone, or is within line of sight of a parabolic mic, you’re not going to be hearing them very well. In the near future, however, that may not be the case. Norway’s Squarehead Technology has developed AudioScope, a system that allows users to acoustically “zoom in” on individual people in a large area, and follow them as they move around.  Read More

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