Australian researchers are trying a novel way to boost the power of cochlear implants. They used the technology to beam gene therapy into the ears of deaf animals and found the combination improved hearing.
The approach reported this week isn’t ready for human testing, but it’s part of growing research into ways to let users of cochlear implants experience richer, more normal sound.
A Purdue Univ. researcher is collaborating with partners around the globe for a special Earth Day experience on Tuesday, April 22, designed to capture up to 1 million natural sound recordings and upload them for preservation.
Global Soundscapes Day, led by Purdue ecologist Bryan Pijanowski, will shine the spotlight on the importance of natural soundscapes and the potential for growing research and encouraging middle school and high school students about the career potentials in this field.
The roar of the crowd is a major part of the excitement of attending a sporting event. A noisy, engaged crowd makes for a better experience for fans, and is often credited with helping the players on the field, too. “The players love it,” said Carl Francis, director of communications for the NFL Players Association. “Fan support definitely has an impact on the players.”
Stadium designers know this, and the new generation of stadiums now incorporate design features that help boost fan support by trapping and amplifying crowd noise. The most important aspects are to keep the size of the stadium as small as possible, and to provide reflecting surfaces that can turn the noise back to the crowd, said Jack Wrightson, a Dallas-based acoustical consultant who has worked on the design of dozens of athletic venues in North America.
Nuclear Monitoring Experts Could Tell if Plane Exploded
The head of the organization that monitors the nuclear test ban treaty says he has asked its experts to see if they detected an explosion at high altitude of the missing Malaysian Airlines plane.
Lassina Zerbo, executive director of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization told a news conference that the CTBTO uses “infrasound” — or infrasonic sensors — to monitor the earth mainly for atmospheric nuclear explosions.
Why did the builders of Stonehenge choose to transport giant bluestones hundreds of kilometers from Wales to Salisbury Plain? George Nash from Univ. of Bristol’s Department of Archaeology and Anthropology is involved in research which is taking a novel approach to solving the mystery.
The Landscape and Perception Project, led by Paul Devereux and Jon Wozencroft from the Royal College of Art, has been assessing the archaeoacoustical value of the bluestones, with Nash and prehistorian Pro. Timothy Darvill of Bournemouth Univ. acting as advisors on the project.
A Chinese-U.S. research team is exploring the use of metamaterials — artificial materials engineered to have exotic properties not found in nature — to create devices that manipulate sound in versatile and unprecedented ways.
In the journal Applied Physics Letters, which is produced by AIP Publishing, the team reports a simple design for a device, called an acoustic field rotator, which can twist wave fronts inside it so that they appear to be propagating from another direction.
The first study to compare brain function between humans and any non-primate animal shows that dogs have dedicated voice areas in their brains, just as people do. Dog brains, like those of people, are also sensitive to acoustic cues of emotion, according to a study in the Cell Press journal Current Biology.
The findings suggest that voice areas evolved at least 100 million years ago, the age of the last common ancestor of humans and dogs, the researchers say. It also offers new insight into humans’ unique connection with our best friends in the animal kingdom and helps to explain the behavioral and neural mechanisms that made this alliance so effective for tens of thousands of years.
Flexible, layered materials textured with nanoscale wrinkles could provide a new way of controlling the wavelengths and distribution of waves, whether of sound or light. The new method, developed by researchers at MIT, could eventually find applications from nondestructive testing of materials to sound suppression, and could also provide new insights into soft biological systems and possibly lead to new diagnostic tools.
Imagine living on a bustling city block, but free from the noise of car horns and people on the street. The emerging field of phononics could one day make this a reality.
The phonon, like the photon or electron, is a physical particle that travels like waves, representing mechanical vibration. Phonons transmit everyday sound and heat. Recent progress in phononics has led to the development of new ideas and devices that are using phononic properties to control sound and heat, according to a new review in Nature.
Method for Dissolving Semiconductors Holds Promise for Electronics
Google’s Glass project is getting musical for the first time as the Internet search giant looks to add new features that will make its wearable technology platform more useful.
Google has launched sound search on the Glass gadget. This lets users identify a song that’s playing in the background by saying “OK Glass. What song is this?” Google will show a knowledge card, similar to search results from its Google Now service, with details of the song, such as the title, artist and year it came out. The company also plans to add a new voice command, “OK Glass… listen to,” which will let users listen to tunes from Google’s online music services, Google Play Music and All Access.
The remarkable mechanism by which the tiny ears of locusts can hear and distinguish between different tones has been discovered by researchers from the Univ. of Bristol. Understanding how the nanoscale features of the insect eardrum mechanically process sound could open up practical possibilities for the fabrication of embedded signal processing in extremely small microphones.
Unlike a microphone membrane, the eardrum of the locust is a complicated structure which is used to process the information contained in an incoming sound. In order to survive, the locust needs to be able to distinguish between the friendly sounds of fellow locusts in its swarm and the sounds of a hunting bat approaching. These sounds differ in their tonal composition: locust sounds are raspy and noisy while bat echolocation calls have distinctly higher frequencies.
A remote acoustic detection system designed to identify homemade bombs can determine the difference between those that contain low-yield and high-yield explosives.
That capability – never before reported in a remote bomb detection system – was described in a paper by Vanderbilt Univ. engineer Douglas Adams presented at the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Dynamic Systems and Control Conference.
Risks of hospital admissions and deaths from stroke and heart disease are higher in areas with high levels of aircraft noise, a study has found.
Researchers at Imperial College London and King’s College London compared data on day- and night-time aircraft noise with hospital admissions and mortality rates among a population of 3.6 million people living near Heathrow airport. The risks were around 10 to 20 percent higher in areas with highest levels of aircraft noise compared with the areas with least noise.
A noisy restaurant, a busy road, a windy day – all situations that can be intensely frustrating for the hearing impaired when trying to pick out speech in a noisy environment. Some 10 million people in the UK suffer from hearing difficulties and, as helpful as hearing aids are, those who wear them often complain that background noise continues to be a problem.
What if hearing device wearers could choose to filter out all the troublesome sounds and focus on the voices they want to hear? Engineer Richard Turner, from the Univ. of Cambridge, believes that this is fast becoming a possibility. He is developing a system that identifies the corrupting noise and erase it.
An independent scientific review panel has concluded that the mass stranding of approximately 100 melon-headed whales in the Loza Lagoon system in northwest Madagascar in 2008 was primarily triggered by acoustic stimuli, more specifically, a multi-beam echosounder system operated by a survey vessel contracted by ExxonMobil Exploration and Production (Northern Madagascar) Limited.
In response to the event and with assistance from Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) led an international stranding team to help return live whales from the lagoon system to the open sea, and to conduct necropsies on dead whales to determine the cause of death.