ACOUSTICS

Save-the-Date: Acoustics in Focus, June 8-10, Offers New Presentation Options

The Acoustical Society of America will hold its 180th meeting June 8-10. To ensure the safety of attendees, volunteers, and ASA staff, the June meeting, “Acoustics in Focus,” will be hosted entirely online with new features to ensure an exciting experience for attendees. Reporters are invited to attend the meeting at no cost and participate in a series of virtual press conferences featuring a selection of newsworthy research.

Call for entries: Awards for science communication

The Acoustical Society of America is accepting submissions for its 2021 Science Communication Awards. Works should be intended for a general audience and will be judged on their ability to enhance the public’s understanding and appreciation of acoustics and related fields. The deadline for entries is April 1, 2021.

Nanodiamonds feel the heat

An international team of researchers created nanodiamond sensors that can act as both heat sources and thermometers, and is using them to measure the thermal conductivity inside living cells, which may lead to new diagnostics tools and cancer therapies

Wearable Electronics for Continuous Cardiac, Respiratory Monitoring

A small and inexpensive sensor, announced in Applied Physics Letters and based on an electrochemical system, could potentially be worn continuously by cardiac patients or others who require constant monitoring. A solution containing electrolyte substances is placed into a small circular cavity that is capped with a thin flexible diaphragm, allowing detection of subtle movements when placed on a patient’s chest. The authors suggest their sensor could be used for diagnosis of respiratory diseases.

Sounds, Smells Could Sway Our Self-Image

A lemony scent and light sounds could change the way you feel about yourself. Previously, researchers have shown that visual and tactile stimulation can change a person’s perception of their own body weight. Research being presented by Giada Brianza at the 179th ASA Meeting, has found our hearing and sense of smell can also change how we feel about our self-image, which could help improve healthy behaviors.

How Much Does the Way You Speak Reveal About You?

Listeners can extract a lot of information about a person from their acoustic speech signal. During the 179th ASA Meeting, Dec. 7-10, Tessa Bent, Emerson Wolff, and Jennifer Lentz will describe their study in which listeners were told to categorize 144 unique audio clips of monolingual English talkers into Midland, New York City, and Southern U.S. dialect regions, and Asian American, Black/African American, or white speakers.

Hearing Tones, Elements Through Atomic Music

With each atom assigned a tonal signature based on its spectral signature, music can be a powerful tool for helping students understand atomic structure. Jill Linz is working toward synthesizing unique tones for each element to create an acoustic version of the periodic table. She will discuss her progress and the potential applications of the project at the 179th ASA Meeting, Dec. 7-10.

Lung Ultrasounds Could Help Determine COVID-19 Outcome

Researchers have developed a method using ultrasound imaging to score a patient’s lung health, which may help predict if a patient with COVID-19 will worsen. Using 14 points in the lungs, they looked for abnormalities and assigned each spot a score out of 3 based on its severity. Adding up all the points, the researchers found the total lung ultrasound score was higher for those who had a worsening outcome of COVID-19. Umberto Sabatini’s presentation will be a part of the 179th ASA Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America.

Masked Education: Which Face Coverings are Best for Student Comprehension?

With the ubiquity of masks due to the coronavirus pandemic, understanding speech has become difficult. This especially applies in classroom settings, where the presence of a mask and the acoustics of the room have an impact on students’ comprehension. Pasquale Bottalico has been studying the effects of masks on communication. He will discuss his findings on the best way to overcome hurdles in classroom auditory perception caused by facial coverings at the 179th ASA Meeting.

Accent Perception Depends on Backgrounds of Speaker, Listener

Visual cues can change listeners’ perception of others’ accents, and people’s past exposure to varied speech can also impact their perception of accents. Ethan Kutlu will discuss his team’s work testing the impact that visual input and linguistic diversity has on listeners’ perceived accentedness judgments in two different locations: Gainesville, Florida, and Montreal, Canada. The session will take place Dec. 9 as part of the 179th ASA Meeting.

Noninvasive Way to Explore Traumatic Brain Injuries

A noninvasive method to measure the stiffness parameters along fibrous pathways within the brain is helping researchers explore traumatic brain injuries. The stiffness of these tissues can reveal clues about changes and pathologies within the brain’s gray and white matter. During the 179th ASA Meeting, Anthony J. Romano will describe the method known as waveguide elastography. Waveguide elastography merges magnetic resonance elastography and diffusion tensor imaging with a combination of isotropic and anisotropic inversion algorithms.

How Does Eye Position Affect ‘Cocktail Party’ Listening?

Several acoustic studies have shown that the position of your eyes determines where your visual spatial attention is directed, which automatically influences your auditory spatial attention. Researchers are currently exploring its impact on speech intelligibility. During the 179th ASA Meeting, Virginia Best will describe her work to determine whether there is a measurable effect of eye position within cocktail party listening situations.

Acoustics Virtually Everywhere: 25 Scientists Summarize Research They’re Presenting This Week at ASA’s December Meeting

As part of the 179th ASA Meeting, 25 sound scientists summarize their innovative research into 300-500 words for a general audience and provide helpful video, photos, and audio. These lay language papers are written for everyone, not just the scientific community. Acousticians are doing important work to make hospitals quieter, map the global seafloor, translate musical notes into emotion, and understand how the human voice changes with age.

Delivering Sound to People Where They Want It for VR, AR

What if a commercial audio speaker could function like an autozoom projector does for light, and you could deliver the sound people want where they want it? Chinmay Rajguru, from the University of Sussex, will discuss his research team’s work creating a sound projector that can deliver spatial sound at a distance by forming a beam of audible sound at the 179th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, Dec. 7-10.

Outside Oz, GLINDA Reports on Tornado Acoustics

During tornado formation, sound waves are produced at very low frequencies. And if your name is GLINDA, you do not need to be in Oz to hear them. Brandon White, at Oklahoma State University, is part of an engineering team that developed the Ground-based Local Infrasound Data Acquisition (GLINDA) system for the acoustic measurement of weather phenomena. He will discuss its design and capabilities at the 179th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, Dec. 7-10.

Imitation Mosquito Ears Help Identify Mosquito Species and Sex

Using an imitation “ear” modeled on the organs that mosquitos use to hear, researchers have identified a mosquito’s species and sex using sound — just like mosquitos do themselves. The researchers hope this bioinspired detector could someday be used in the field to save lives by aiding in more selective pesticide use and possibly preventing mosquitos from mating. A presentation of the new research will be given as part of the 179th ASA Meeting.

Smarter Traffic Signs Ahead?

Researchers in Poland have created smart road signs that use built-in Doppler radar, video, and acoustic radar and weather stations to monitor road traffic and conditions to warn drivers in real-time of hazards and prevent collisions on highways. During the 179th ASA Meeting, Dec. 7-10, Andrzej Czyzewski will describe his applied research project to develop autonomous road signs with built-in acoustic radar devices.