On Monday, a team of scientists in Australia announced an exciting breakthrough: For the first time, researchers were able to turn light into sound on a microchip. But — as crazy-sounding new physics applications tend to be — it's probably going to be a long time before you see one of these chips on a computer you can buy. More importantly, what the heck does "turn light into sound" even mean?
Tagged With sound
...Sort of. 300 years worth of audio engineering experience, at least. Samsung's brand new MS750 all-in-one soundbar is the result of a huge amount of exacting — and genuinely world-first — audio development at the company's multimillion-dollar Los Angeles lab. The end result is a soundbar that massively improves the sound from your TV, and it doesn't even need a subwoofer to hit the low notes.
There's an old mantra in the security world that anything can be hacked. And the more complex our devices become, the more methods hackers dream up to break into them. Case in point: A team of researchers can use sound waves to control anything from a smartphone (seriously) to a car (theoretically).
The snapping of gum. The slurping of soup (*shudders*). If you, like me, have misophonia, these sounds are more than merely annoying — they're rage-inducing. Being trapped in a room of snappers and slurpers is enough to make us walk away or set ourselves on fire.
We've all been there: Building a scale model of the Death Star in our basement and thinking, "I just wish this had a tractor beam to grab onto my tiny Styrofoam Millennium Falcon." Now, thanks to a team of scientists, you can put the finishing touches on that model with your very own sonic tractor beam. OK, maybe we haven't all been there, but I'm sure someone has been there.
You no longer have to be a Stradivarius, a Gibson, or even a Steinway to make your own musical instruments. Anyone with access to a 3D printer and this simple software, developed by Autodesk Research, can turn any 3D model into a wind instrument capable of playing a variety of different notes.
Whether you're gaming, watching movies, or streaming Spotify, there are likely to be times when your laptop's default sound setup doesn't quite hit the highs and lows you're looking for. If you don't want to settle for subpar audio any longer, there are ways to improve it, and we've outlined some of the best below.
Unique gifts can be hard to find and if you want to get something truly special, you often have to go down the custom route. But why bother with engraving your partner's name on a mug, or stencilling your face on the arse of their pants, when you could record your voice and have it encoded into an 18-karat gold ring?
Video: None of us will probably never make it to the red planet, but if you want to get a feel for what Mars would sound like (or hear what it's like from inside an airlock), saddle up with this video from Cody's Lab. He drops a camera inside a vacuum chamber and then turns down the pressure to mimic what it's like on Mars. He actually makes it so that there's no air inside the chamber at all, which means that sound can't be created. It's pretty chilling to hear that sort of silence (even if we hear silence all the time).
To an audiophile, there's no such thing as 'too expensive' if it means an upgrade to their setup could improve their listening experience. And in Japan, some acoustic connoisseurs are now installing their own utility poles, with custom transformers, to ensure all of their audio gear is getting the purest power possible.
Video: Radiolab's Jad Abumrad sits down to talk about music — its purpose, its function, its meaning — with filmmaker Mac Premo in this wildly frenetic video and somehow manages to explain why music is so special. Abumrad says that unlike words, which are basically just a code or an agreement between people, music just is what it is, and the response we have is innate. Music can magically get around a person's rational defences and is something that makes us who we are.
Uncharted 4: A Thief's End is the closing chapter of Nathan Drake's treasure hunting adventures. The game is made by Naughty Dog, a developer known more recently for the survival thriller The Last of Us. The unifying thread among developer's projects is that they're exceptionally cinematic, even more so than most other big budget games.
Video: When a pigeon flies, you can hear it sloppily slap its wings as it makes its way through the air. When a peregrine falcon flies, the flight is powerful and beautiful but you can still hear the movement. When a barn owl flies? Complete silence. It's amazing to see. BBC Earth set up microphones along the flight path of the birds to let us hear the difference.
Video: What a special movie. One that not only could I watch over and over again but also just listen to. Here is Zackery Ramos-Taylor splicing scenes that highlight the sound of Mad Max: Fury Road. They all combine to do such a good job in making you feel as if you're inside the desolate wasteland.