A Sound invention!
If you ponder about the various inventions, you are sure to find some inventions that have affected and transformed our day to day lives completely.These inventions may be the result of sheer innovation or just necessity.What ever it might be, the message that they convey is - think out of the box( Think different!).There has been many examples for this quotation " Think different" People believed, when man goes to end of oceans, he will fall down since earth was flat, people said only birds can fly,some even said who would want a computing device at home? they are for business!.Right from the gravity defying invention of wright brothers to the current wonder-mobile phones, all inventions are due to the one phrase some one stood by - " Think different ".The same is the case with the invention that we are going to see.
There is a sequence of steps that historyu has taught inventors:
First, they say you are insane, it can't be done! then when you prove it, they start to question you from all directions, then when you had proven it again and again, everyone would want it!.The same thing happened with Woody Norris.He has not only shown that crazy ideas can be brought to life, but also proved that some crazy ideas can change the way we understand and interact with things.
Just imagine how the world would be,if these people did not follow their dreams through times of adversity and instead believed what they were told by many -"You can't" !??.
Woody Norris,is a modern day innovator who is responsible for bringing to the world a new technology in sound and the way it’s heard by us.Woody Norris has 44 patents and has inventions counting to 15! one of them is Hypersonic Sound(that's what he preferred to call it).Before knowing about the invention, it's a right thing to know something about the inventor first.He was born in Barrelville, Maryland, with both parents did not have any university education(Only schooling I guess).
As a kid he was interested in gadgets and as he grew, his interest n elecrtonics also grew.Almost most of the electronics he knows is self-taught!.He recieved military training-regarding electronics.And he used to borrow damaged orun-functional radios and everytime he used to repair them and make them work.
"You know how some people can play the piano, they just pick out notes? I've always had that ability with electronics and I know rudimentary things about circuits just intuitively." - Woody Norris
He opted to work in local electronics store, but unfortunately he was not wanted.So he applied for airforce and got a job there.But he soon was bored of his job, both due to the nature of the job and the earnings.So he went for a job at a University, where had got the opportunity to develop his electronics skills.He used to take classes in the morning and many in evenings, all this was offered because he was working there, fixing equipments.
In later years,Woody was approached a company from Salt Lake City.They wanted him to invent a sonar version of radar that could listen inside the human body. This was the breakthrough that helped him get into the next level with his skills.After that offer, he had the facilities needed to continue his inventing and from which to get his career started as an inventor.
That was a brief history of the inventor behind Hyper sonic.But what is the invention?Let's just jump to what the invention is and how this Hypersonic thing works.This man has done just such a thing with sound - INNOVATION (thinking different !).So you might think what is new about sound? we have classified the types, we know what we can hear and what we can't, inventors like dolby had helped perfect sound recording and re-production;What else is left for inventing in that field?.Well think again!.This invention is something you wouldn't even thought about yet it is a ver very simple thought.Woody Norris answered the question:"Can we control the path of sound?" and the answer is Yes!(I'm not referring to a speech tube or a pipe through which sound can be directed).
To understand the invention, let's see an example-Consider you want to search for your purse in your bedroom, say at 10 pm at night, would you light up your whole house to find the purse in your bedroom? the answer is definitely not.Also when you want to light up an entire room, you make use of a bulb, when you want to direct light, you use a search light/ torch light.This ability to control light, helped us produce torch light, spot light, and to more efficient-lazers.So what does these examples have to do with this invention of sound? well Woody Norris wondered if the same things could be done with sound.It has been 80 years since loudspeakers were invented, yet we still have these speakers producing sound that goes in all direction rather than only to the listener.When you head a loud rock music, you neighbor yells at you!.
This is where the thinking different part comes in."it was about time to put sound where you want to." this was the thought of Woody Norris.So instead of filling a room with sound, he wanted to control the direction of the sound.Typically when a speaker produces sound, the sound travels in various direction, gets absorbed or deflected from various objects like walls or a person standing in front of it.So we are literally wasting sound energy by letting it propagate around, un directed.The air that carries sound waves also affects how the sound wave propagated.,The humidity of air, it's temperature and pressure-all account to the sound propagation.Hence the speed with which sound travels in air is not constant.So we now know that a propagated sound wave can be disturbed by natural phenomena occurring in the atmosphere around - constant changes in the pressure and density of the air around us.
This corrupting phenomena in the air can be predicted and also used to our advantage, if manipulated correctly.So basically an aspect of this technology is that it sets out to utilize the atmospheric factors, in a better way than we actually do.Sound of Ultrasound frequencies are produced by the Hypersonic,but ultrasonic sounds are not audible right?yes, that is verymush true,but remember we talked about some factors of air, that disturbs the sound waves and causes it to distort? that's the property that we are using for our advantage.
Let me explain in detail:as the ultrasonic beam travels through the air, the inherent properties of the air cause the ultrasound to distort but in a predictable way.Thus this distortion gives rise to frequency components in the audible band, which can be accurately predicted, and therefore precisely controlled. By generating the correct ultrasonic signal, we can create, within the air itself, essentially any sound desired.When a HyperSonic speaker is aimed at someone, the air between that person and the panel is 'mapped' and the space is divided up into many number of (very large number)separate points between the person and the panel. Once the device has analysed and mapped this air pathway, it can then produce sound in suitable way that the sound propagates only through the path mapped, which could be a person( or the ear of someone).Thus sound is directed to a single direction rather than all over the space,but there is a problem, with the distance getting increased,inverse square law kicks in,according to this law,sound drops off about two thirds or energy for every doubling of distance.Hence one need more power if the distance is going to be greater.
What can be the apparent applications of this technology? this questions still stirs around a lot of debate from great uses of the technology to rather weird uses too.Have you ever been to a concert? when you buy that damn low costing ticket, all that you can hear in the concert is any echo and some treble music that may reach you.But that can change with this technology.The sound will remain the same, irrespective of your seating in the front row or the last.Also no more will we be waking our neighbors only because we wanted to hear our favorite music,louder!.
But what can be the more productive applications of this technology?
It can be used for variety of applications that result in productive outcomes in day-to-day life.One such is the creation of zones in our streets, where in, however hard you try to honk your horn, you'll be catching the attention of only the vehicle before you and not everyone around you and also to eliminate road noise as well.Remember the more weird application I was talking about?, well it seem that the technology is being used to try to stop snoring!.
Imagine a soldier who has had a hectic day, he is tired and confused, suddenly he hears a voice "I'm God !, stop the nonsense that you are doing and surrender to Me!" and it happens to be that he is alone in a bunker.The soldier would become so confused and curious that he will be forced to compromise his position.Actually this is not the type of application they are planning on, but American troops are using this technology, to deviate enemies, to make them think that a large number of people are trying to enter from the door on the left side, but actually it's the hypersonic speakers that are causing this distraction.this can be used as a decoy and it'll be a major advantage.There is also another, rather unconventional and cruel use - transmitting a a very high Db signal( more than 120Db) such that the signal to your enemy's ears,bursts his ear drums from miles away.It is claimed that it can also identify enemy soldiers from few hundreds meters away.Also there is the application of sending messages to a particular message to a soldier or groups of soldiers, loud and clear, without the need for headphones!(but what I don't understand is these day's, when a new technology emerges, it's the people of defence department, who try to use them to create weapons and not scientists to create something useful!)
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