If you thought acoustic levitation was nifty, wait till you see this: moving a small bead in arbitrary directions with a holographic sound field.
Say what? By varying the phases of an array of 64 ultrasonic transducers, researchers at Spain’s Public University of Navarre were able to create ‘acoustic objects’: three-dimensional patterns of air compression that can push against a lightweight object. … Continue Reading
Seeing something float magically in nothing but air is always a breathtaking sight, but there aren’t too many ways to do it. You could use a really thin string, like a magician, or maybe some powerful electromagnets. But what if you could levitate objects with nothing more than the air itself?… Continue Reading
Microsoft’s new anechoic chamber at Building 87 in Richmond has broken the Guinness World Record for “Quietest Place on Earth”, achieving an insane sensitivity of -20.6 dbA, which is only a few times louder than Brownian motion, or the noise that moving gas particles make. … Continue Reading
Suppose it’s 2 million years ago and you’re a humble A. africanus or P. robustus. You hear the sounds of the forest in sharp detail around you. You hear with critical clarity every nuance of a bird’s call, every grunt and whistle of your hunting party—and the slightest, subtlest cracking of a twig caused by your prey.… Continue Reading
If you’re going to build dikes that need to stand up to the ocean, you’re going to need a way to test them: so you build a gigantic wave machine. This one can produce waves almost 15 feet high—do you think they’d let me surf on it? … Continue Reading
If you’ve ever seen heat mirages, where the road ahead waves a bit on a very hot day, you’ve gotten a hint of Schlieren imaging, which is a way of seeing the flow of otherwise invisible gases.
When waves propagate from one medium into another, the waves bend a bit due to changes in the index of refraction of each material. … Continue Reading
The first time you hear ice sheets cracking, it’s probably not what you would expect. You can hear the effect more clearly in sound artist Andreas Bick’s recordings. But what’s going on? Why would ice cracking sound so much like striking a long metal wire, and what does that have to do with Star Wars?… Continue Reading
If you’ve ever wondered what indie rock/noise/shoegaze might sound like combined with the electromechanical bleats and whirrs of the Large Hadron Collider, look no further than the above.
In honor of the world’s most powerful particle collider’s ramp-up to historic energy levels, the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) invited experimentalists Deerhoof to do pretty much whatever they wanted inside their magnet test facility, background noise and all.… Continue Reading
For anyone studying neural tissues, it would be amazingly useful if you could pick and choose certain neurons to fire when you want them to, so you can observe the effects. For a very long time, there was simply no way to do this: they’re too small and densely packed, and if you wanted to do this on a living sample?… Continue Reading