5 Cool Things People Have Done with Sound

July 14, 2014 12 Minute Read

It’s hugely versatile: it can help treat depression and it can also kill you. Sound happens around us 24/7, 365 days a year. Some of it is wonderful…

…and some of it is awful.

The lack of sound is so powerful it can drive you insane.

Of course, something with so many interesting properties is going to get people thinking. Here are 5 of the coolest things people have done with sound (and posted on the internet):

Audio Visualizer–Made of Fire

http://ow.ly/w65RZ

The Pyro Board demonstrates the relationship between sound waves and pressure using the fire of 2,500 flames. It displays visuals in real time, based on music. The picture is pretty cool, but it doesn’t do the impressive fiery display the justice the video does. Make sure you hit play and watch the way the rippling blue flames burst into towers of orange ones.

What Does Sound Look Like?

http://ow.ly/vF0a8

This is an awesome video from NPR’s Skunk Bear that includes real footage of sound waves. It gives a brief overview of how sound works and also the process necessary to actually film said sound waves.

Singing Tesla Coils

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dk37D_tkCCc

In this video the electricity from two Tesla Coils is used to create a melody out of the sounds created by the passage of the spark through the air. Tesla Coils emit hundreds of sparks per second, which work like sound waves. By changing the frequency of the sparks, the frequency of the notes can be changed.

Singing Tesla Coils have become pretty popular and you can find videos of them all over singing everything from Inspector Gadget (as in the above) to Awolnation. There’s even a group that does special edutainment shows with Tesla Coils called ArcAttack.

Non-Newtonian Fluid and Sound Waves

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3zoTKXXNQIU

Oobleck (aka cornstarch and water) becomes thicker with increased friction. Introducing the friction of sound waves to a pool of oobleck results in some coolcreepy effects. This is the same property that makes quicksand easy to slip into, but difficult to get out of.

Sound Tank – A Mobile Sound System

http://www.digitaltrends.com/music/berlin-artist-blasts-the-public-with-his-13-loudspeaker-packing-sound-tank/#/5
In Berlin, artist Nik Nowak has created a mobile sound system using a reconfigured mini dumptruck. It includes 13 loudspeakers and three 18-inch subwoofers. The final result is a pretty impressive piece of machinery.

photo credit: Iwan Gabovitch via photopin cc

Do you know of any other cool stuff people have done with sound? Let me know in the comments.