Category: Audio

How Does This Sound? Classic Design Firm Goes Ultra-Modern With 3D-Printable Headphones

In its 86-year history, the industrial design firm Teague has helped commercialize some groundbreaking technology, from the original Polaroid camera to the cabin of the 1946 Boeing Stratocruiser. They continue their legacy of innovation today with their design work on the first Xbox and the interiors of Boeing’s latest superplane, the 787 Dreamliner. And now they’ve started pushing into the 3D-printing world with the 13:30 headset, a creation they call the first “prototype as product.”

The 13:30 isn’t the first 3D-printed consumer product — many offerings from toys to hearing aids beat them to market — but this might be the first high-profile consumer product designed specifically for printing that is as easy to download as a song from iTunes.

The headphones are made up of nine 3D-printed parts (downloadable at Thingiverse) and a handful of electronic components: two drivers, a couple of RCA jacks, and some wires and springs. The design was purposefully kept simple and solderless to make it easier to assemble and recycle.

Read the complete article at Wired.

Modern art, or wireless speaker? Meet HiddenRadio

How do you stand out in an increasingly crowded market? In the case of HiddenRadio, a new wireless speaker, it’s by aiming for a truly distinctive design that’s more art than tech.

The result of five years of development and an incredibly effective Kickstarter campaign (it raised $938,772 from just 5,328 backers), HiddenRadio is a minimalist BlueTooth speaker with no visible controls. To turn it on, you simply need to twist the speaker, which is also how you control the volume.

What’s most striking about the HiddenRadio is that, without being told it’s actually a wireless speaker, you could easily mistake it for a simple piece of sculpted modern art. Given that it’s competing against the entrenched JawBone Jambox, which sports a boxy Yves Behar design, it’s even more impressive that HiddenRadio’s design manages to stand out.

Read the complete article at VentureBeat.

3D-printed dodecahedron speaker projects spherical sound

More speakers are always, always better. And why stop and two, or five, or ten, when you could have twelve of them all folded together and blasting one single channel out of an omnidirectional 3D-printed dodecahedron housing that you can make yourself for under a hundred bucks.

The reason why you might want to consider using a whole bunch of speakers instead of just a couple is that speakers, individually, only really project sound in one direction.

Read the complete article at DVice.

BlindSide Audio Adventure Game

Artist Fabricates A Super-Modified Turntable That Reads Tree Trunks

YEARS from Bartholomäus Traubeck on Vimeo.

Imagine musical trees made of vinyl, year-rings functioning as grooves of audio information. Record labels would go out into the black woods and harvest tall black stalks of acetate, hauling these trees back—CD-R leaves and vines of magnetic tape dragging in the dirt—to shave off cross sections and punch holes in the middle. The first shaving is a test pressing. It’s given a listen and judged. Some are beautiful, and it’s obvious at first listen that nature has grown important, lasting music. They’re then sent to a mill, where the trees are sliced to specifications, packaged, and shipped to record stores.

OK, now flip the situation; instead of changing the trees, change the record player. This is what Bartholomäus Traubeck did with his “Years” project: he made a record player that plays cross-sections of trees, analyzing their year rings and reproducing/interpreting the information as gorgeous piano music. The idea is simple and poetic; the process, not so much. Our sister site, Motherboard, talked to Bart earlier this week.

Motherboard: Do different kinds of trees make different music?

Read the interview at The Creators Project.

The Dawn of Recorded Sound in America

Until recently, the oldest recorded sounds of known date which anyone could hear had been captured in 1888 on the “perfected” phonograph introduced that year by Thomas Edison. But Edison had invented his original phonograph eleven years before that, in 1877–and recorded sound itself is even older: In the 1850s, Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville of Paris created the phonautograph, an instrument which scratched records of aerial sound waves on soot-blackened paper, not for playback, but for visual study. This means there is a big disparity between when sound was first recorded (around 1857) and the earliest recorded sounds we could actually listen to (1888).

That changed in 2008 when FirstSounds.org released a sound file created from a phonautogram of “Au Clair de la Lune” as sung on April 9, 1860. Suddenly we could hear more distantly into the past than ever before.

Even so, the intervening history of recorded sound — including the transformation by American inventors of the phonautograph into a “talking machine” — has remained frustratingly silent. The indented tinfoil sheets produced by Edison’s exhibition phonographs of 1877-78 weren’t regarded as permanently playable recordings, and little care was taken to preserve them in a playable state. No intelligible sound recovered from a historical tinfoil recording has ever been published.

Read the complete article at The Atlantic.

Gesture Recognition With Contact-Microphones

Scientists Restore 125-Year-Old Audio With 3D Optical Scans

Even though old discs from phonautographs and phonographs often can’t be paired with their original recording devices, modern science is still able to salvage the audio. Most commonly, old discs can be digitally scanned and converted into playable sound, but a new technique from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory actually restored a damaged 125-year-old sample. PhysOrg.com reports that old archives from Alexander Graham Bell’s Volta laboratory are being restored with 3D optical scanning technology, which can help circumvent years of damage and weathering.

Read the complete article at PCWorld.

7 Street Art Works Without A Drop Of Spray Paint

Digital art has long consumed the art community by giving us new artistic techniques and informing our aesthetic, so it was only a matter of time until technology infiltrated even the most populist form of art and entered the realm of street art. In some ways, this pairing was meant to be. Street artists have always been known innovators, the “hackers” of the art world, transforming urban environments with found materials. For their part, digital artists have often treated the web as if it were their street—a public forum for them to display their craft, to make it accessible to all and bypass the traditional “art institutions.” The creative energy on the streets is alive and well, but today’s generation of street artists have got new tools in their arsenal—and they’re not your typical spray cans.

By now, you’re probably familiar with the tremendous work in graffiti innovation done by the creative minds that comprise the Graffiti Research Lab (GRL). Co-founded by Creator James Powderly, the GRL contrived a system that allows individuals to draw on buildings remotely with a laser. The movement made with the beam is programmed into computer graphics and then projected onto the building’s facade, which means that the work is impermanent, but also property-damage free.

Projection mapping may be becoming the most prevalent form of this new generation of “street art,” and in fact, several of the projects mentioned above make use of projection technology as well. One fine example of the form is from Brazilian group Bijari, who projected a large scale visual on The Sao Paulo Museum of Art (MASP). In an earlier interview, Bijari explained to us that “because MASP is a 70-meter long facade, one sole projector wouldn’t work, so we used three 30,000-lumen projectors for this huge structure.” The 12 minute video was projected on loop for three hours to promote the launch of the series Human Planet on the Discovery Channel.

Read the complete article and watch more videos at The Creators Project.

Imaginary Sound Works Strikes A Balance Between The Real And The Impossible

While plenty of artworks are brought into the world every day, there are also thousands of artistic ideas that remain just that—unrealized concepts, forever relegated to creative purgatory in the mind that conceived them. So it’s nice that projects like Jamie Allen’s Imaginary Sound Works come along every now and again to pay homage to those forgotten ideas, long abandoned and left for dead (for better or worse).

Focusing on sound art, multimedia artist and lecturer Jamie Allen is asking people to submit written descriptions of “sound-based works, acoustic investigations, and signal manipulations” to the website Imaginarysoundworks.com. This online piece will then be turned into an exhibition in December at the Klangmanifeste sound festival in Vienna, which this year will showcase works that “deal with the materiality of sound in the border zone of visual and sculptural art, music, conceptual works and research.”

The resulting submissions are a mix of elaborate sounding set ups—such as one involving placing hydrophones in the middle of the Atlantic ocean—to more playful ideas like capturing the sound of bacon sizzling, or the esoteric: a dubstep remix of John Cage’s silent classic 4’33”. It’s an intriguing idea and a great place for people to let their imaginations unfold. We emailed Allen a few questions about the project to find out his motivations for starting it:

Read the complete article at The Creators Project.