Wanna hear something cool? … Haa, see what I did there? With the right equipment sonic waves can get pretty weird and wonderful. In our everyday life we take noise for granted, treating it like it’s just a bunch of frequencies mashed together, even if it sounds like music. But, believe it or not, sound is hiding a lot of secrets from us! Little by little we’re discovering new tech applications, and reveal unexpected abilities of sonic waves. Here are the top 5 fascinating sound experiments.
1. Can our visual system also hear?
There was this monkey experiment with bright and dim buttons. Apes could easily pinpoint the bright light buttons, but those dim ones were a problem. That is, until the scientists added a quick sound to the dim spots. Apparently, the sound really helps us see, in a sense, which blew the minds of the neuroscientists. I mean, we all have 2 ears, which helps us with pinpointing the source of the sound, so I thought this was a given, but what do I know.
2. New way to test blood
Blood testing at this point in time is time-consuming, the samples may get damaged, and there’s also the risk of contamination. But have no fear, the sonic science is here! You can now have the samples tested using sound. This new experimental tech is said to be much quicker, and show more accurate results. How exactly does this work? Beats me, I had a C in biology, and only watched House MD for the drama. But I’ll give it a shot: when lab coats are looking for what’s wrong with the patient, they need to fling exosomes. These tiny things are released by our cells, and apparently carry a load of helpful info about our body. So this new sonic blood analyzer, or whatever it’s called, separates the exosomes with sounds, using various frequencies. This means that unlike in the centrifuge, the blood sample is way less likely to be damaged. It’s cheaper, faster, more reliable, and can one day become a portable solution available for everyone.
3. Acoustic levitation
Gravity can be broken! All you need is “silent noise”. 3 years ago, a Scottish university discovered that it’s possible to lift an object using sonic percussion. Sound wave pressure produces force, when it goes through ground, water, or in this particular case – air. Naturally, this principle can be potentially used to create levitation. But it’s not as easy as just lasting random noise under your feet. The waves require a specific order they’d be released in, to cancel out the G-force. Different pressures needed to be deployed simultaneously to keep the object steady, or to have it move. This required an incredibly complex maths magic. You may’ve seen the most recent attempt to resurrect the Scottish data and find the exact pattern. Remember a GIF of those tiny balls hanging in the air? Yeah, that’s what sonic levitation looks like, and it’s awesome!
4. Sonic fire extinguisher
Imagine a huge fire broke out and all you have in your stereo are some sick mix-tapes. All right, you’d probably burn to a crisp, BUT is there a way to use sound to extinguish fires. You’re basically cutting off the oxygen with low frequencies of 30 to 60 hertz, basically creating a small pocket of vacuum. No oxygen – no fire. The technology is just a lab project for now, but once this thing hits the belts, we’ll hear about it.
5. Can sound alter taste?
Turns out, aside from putting out fires, low frequency sounds brings out the bitter taste in food. If we take high pitched sounds, on the other hand, they may make your meal a tad sweeter. The exact reasons are still unknown, but it’s a fact. This phenomenon does not interact with your taste buds, but goes straight to the brain. High or low notes basically tell the brain to focus more on either the sweetness or bitterness of your dinner. And random noise can also ruin your dinner, if it’s above a certain decibel level, people are less likely to taste salt and sweetness. Gotta say I don’t agree with that, but maybe I’m just special like that.