Walk into a roomful of people, and your first impression is just noise. Within seconds, you start to pick out words, phrases, and fragments of conversations. Soon you’ll be merrily chatting with friends, oblivious to the din around you. But most of us never stop to think about exactly how our brain manages to pick out…
The sounds bamboo chopsticks emit when they’re snapped in half are remarkably similar to the laws that govern the magnitude and frequency of earthquakes. Such insights could one day help engineers determine more precisely when a bridge or dam, for instance, might be about to fail.
Many have savored the arresting visual beauty of Raphael’s “Madonna del Prato” (1505). Now you can listen to it as well, thanks to a new series by Athens-based artist and physicist Yiannis Kranidiotis, who transformed this and other classic paintings into haunting digital soundscapes.
The first thing an architect or graphic designer will do at the start of a project is to produce some preliminary sketches — just to rough out their ideas on paper, perhaps augmented with computer-aided design software. But sound designers don’t have similar tools. A consortium of European researchers is seeking to…
Imagine attending a live concert where the musicians aren’t even in the performance space. Instead, they’re 500 miles away, playing their hearts out, while a holographic sound image of the music is mapped and then recreated in the performance space for your listening pleasure. It sounds like science fiction, but it’s…
You’ve probably watched enough Animal Planet to know that humpback whales communicate using clicks and whistles. But put on a pair of headphones and listen to the video above. Beneath the shrill chatter we’ve all heard before, there’s a much lower-pitched tone, eerily reminiscent of a human heartbeat.
The modern piano evolved rapidly in the first 150 years after its invention, but it is now so good, acoustically, that it probably won’t change much more in the future.
Graphene, everybody’s favorite wonder material, has yet another trick up its sleeve. The ultra-strong, highly conductive carbon lattice is extraordinarily good at detecting faint and high frequency sound waves.
A new ultrasound technique that uses tiny micro-bubbles to help improve the contrast of its images is capable of producing highly detailed pictures of blood vessels inside living animals.
Our need to store data is growing at an astonishing rate. An estimated 2.7 zettabytes (2.721) of data are currently held worldwide, equivalent to several trillion bytes for every one of the 7 billion people on Earth. Accessing this data quickly and reliably is essential for us to do useful things with it – the problem…
Tibetan singing bowls are known for their soothing harmonic tones, ideal for meditation. But they can also produce “chatter,” a kind of knocking sound. A group of Florida undergraduates think they’ve figured out why this happens.
Bad news, diehard sports fans: all that raucous cheering during games doesn’t really help your team win. The good news is that it doesn’t seem to interfere with players’ performance either.
The tractor beam, a beloved staple of science fiction, has been inching closer and closer to reality. We’ve got physicists building optical beams that can pull micro-scale balls through water. NASA and Arx Pax (of “hoverboard” fame) are building a magnetic tractor beam that can control satellites. The latest…
There are many possible explanations for hauntings, not least that humans are highly suggestible creatures, especially when we want to believe. But some ghost sightings might actually be the result of sounds — sound waves that vibrate just below our range of hearing, dubbed the “fear frequency.”
Certain sand dunes make their own desert music, singing, booming, or even “burping” — a naturally occurring musical instrument. Scientists have discovered that these distinct sounds are each created by different types of waves moving through the dunes.
We conduct our daily lives against a soundtrack of incessant background noise. But the nature of that noise is changing in the digital age. And sound design — the way we engineer recorded audio — is changing with it.
This wooden desk doubles as a playable pipe organ: push in the various drawers and air flows into the wooden pipes.
Apple’s not been especially forthcoming over the years UNDERSTATEMENT but recently the company has been opening up. Case in point: Journalist Steven Levy went inside Apple’s HQ to see where the company prototypes hardware, including an acoustical lab for tuning the audible feedback from your fingers.
We know it’s possible to levitate objects with sound, provided the objects are small and the sound is used carefully. It seems it’s also possible to make those objects form all kinds of shapes and then lose their minds.
Jet engines are extraordinarily loud at roughly 140 decibels–and airports have struggled with mitigating their roar since the early days of commercial flight. An engineer at Boeing wants to make the cacophony more useful, if not silence it for good.