Obituary for Well-Known Australian Acoustician

Pedestrian cross button

Dr. Louis Challis AM, a well known Australian acoustician has passed away in June 2017. Louis worked on the acoustics of Parliament House in Canberra, received an unprecedented 12 Engineering Excellence Awards from Engineers Australia and Consult Australia, he was honoured with the Centenary Medal in 2001; Membership of the Order of Australia in 2005.

He is famous for having invented an audio-tactile push-button signalling system, which is used throughout Australia and the world, so that pedestrians who are sight- and/or hearing-impaired can easily determine whether the signal is displaying “Walk” or “Don’t Walk” simply by touching the button. Quite nobly, he declined to patent his invention as he believed the innovation should be made as widely available as possible at the lowest possible cost.

See the news article on the Sydney Morning Herald web site.

Sound absorbing material from cigarette butts

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I can see this recent article as a contender for an Ig Nobel prize

Acoustical performance of samples prepared with cigarette butts

Spanish researchers from Departamento de Física Aplicada, Escuela Politécnica, Universidad de Extremadura, measured the sound absorbing properties of cigarette butts.  Given the enormous number of cigarette butts that get thrown away, which don’t decompose very well, it is great that someone tried to find a use for waste.

Use your skull’s vibration for authentication

Researchers from the University of Stuttgart, Saarland University, and Max Planck Institute for Informatics have shown that it is possible to use a skull’s unique response to vibration for authentication. The researchers vibrated a skull with white noise and measured the response. They were able to correctly identify users 97% of the time.

See the full paper here.

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LISNR Lands Intel Capital and $10 Million in Series B Funding

A startup company LISNR has secured $10m in series B funding.

LISNR technology uses proprietary inaudible sound waves called SmartTones to connect devices. It works like existing technology protocol Bluetooth, except LISNR uses sound waves and does not require hardware or maintenance. Williams says LISNR technology has advantages over Bluetooth because it requires very little battery use and also boasts synchronization with a device in less than one-eighth of a second. Additionally, because the technology uses sound that you can’t hear, LISNR leverages existing hardware and network of audio that’s everywhere around us. This “speakernet” or “The Internet of Sound,” as Williams puts it, gives LISNR the ability to leverage a massive, existing network that’s all around us. “Anywhere there is a speaker or has the ability to broadcast audio, LISNR has the ability to turn that object or media into a data transmitting medium.”

Read the press release on the LISNR web site.

Rossing Prize in Acoustics Education Awarded to Prof Yang-Hann Kim

Acoustical Society of America

Professor Yang-Hann Kim, from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology in Daejeon, has been awarded the 2015 Acoustical Society of America Rossing Prize in Acoustics Education.

The Rossing Prize is awarded to an individual who has made significant contributions toward furthering acoustics education through distinguished teaching, creation of educational materials, textbook writing and other activities. The Prize will be presented at the 170th meeting of the ASA on 4 November 2015 in Jacksonville, Florida.

Brüel & Kjær and Altair Partner Alliance

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The Altair company, which makes the software Hyperworks and formed the Altair Partner Alliance, announced that Brüel & Kjær, one of the oldest sound and vibration instrumentation companies, is bringing its noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) software, Insight+, to HyperWorks customers. The Insight+ software enables designers to listen to the sound a vehicle would make from a virtual design.

Read the press releases on the Altair and the Bruel and Kjaer web sites.

 

Scientific comparison of earphones

There are many online reviews of earphones that provide non-scientific opinions with comments such as “excellent bass response”, “clear mid-ranges”, and so on, without providing any measured results. As an engineer and a researcher, I find these unsubstantiated claims unsettling. We did a literature review on the internet to find articles that recommended low-price earphones and conducted instrumented testing.

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