The Acoustical Society of America offers Science Communication Awards in Acoustics to recognize excellence in the communication of acoustics-related topics to a popular audience. The 2023 award cycle will accept content created between Jan. 1, 2021, and Dec. 31, 2022; if you have seen, heard, or created something acoustics-related during this time frame, please nominate it! Each nominated entry will be judged according to its general accessibility, relevance to acoustics, accuracy, and quality. Nominations will be accepted until March 15, 2023.
“Gowajee” — a Thai Speech-Recognition AI from Chula
An engineering professor from Chula has designed “Gowajee”, a Thai-language speech recognition AI capable of delivering speech-to-text/ text-to-speech with the accuracy of a native speaker while keeping users’ data secure. Having been rolled out in call centers, and depression patients screening process, Gowajee is set to be adapted to many other functions.
Improving Child Development by Monitoring Noisy Day Cares #ASA183
At the 183rd ASA Meeting, Kenton Hummel will describe how soundscape research in day cares can improve child and provider outcomes and experiences. He and his team collaborated with experts in engineering, sensing, early child care, and health to monitor three day care centers for 48-hour periods. High noise levels and long periods of loud fluctuating sound can negatively impact children and staff by increasing the effort it takes to communicate. In contrast, a low background noise level allows for meaningful speech, which is essential for language, brain, cognitive, and social/emotional development.
How Behind-the-Scenes Sound Mixing Makes Movie Magic #ASA183
Modern movie sound mixing uses techniques like impulse responses to reproduce dialogue and other sounds. These methods are crucial to align what moviegoers see and hear and keep them engaged in the story. At the 183rd ASA meeting, Jeffrey Reed of Taproot Audio Design will demonstrate the behind-the-scenes audio engineering required to re-create the acoustics of movie sets and locations, sharing short clips of film to compare the original recording to the studio mixed product.
Helping Acoustic Concepts Resonate with Students #ASA183
“I am sitting in a room, different from the one you are in now.” With these words, Alvin Lucier begins a fascinating recording where his voice warps and becomes indistinguishable over time, solely because of how sound reflects in the room. For physics students, this audio can be used to reveal details of the surrounding room and teach important lessons about acoustic resonance. Andy Piacsek, of Central Washington University, will discuss how he employs Lucier’s project in the classroom during his talk, “Students are sitting in a room.”
Why Those Sounds From Your Upstairs Neighbor Are So Annoying #ASA183
At the 183rd ASA Meeting, Markus Mueller-Trapet will describe experiments designed to simulate and measure the perceived annoyance experienced from noisy neighbors in multi-unit residential buildings. He and his team provided a living room-like situation and recorded impact sounds of objects dropping and people walking. They then presented the recordings to study participants, using different playback techniques and virtual reality, and created an online survey. The team hopes to provide guidance to architects and building code developers.
3D-Printed Violins Bring Music into More Hands #ASA183
Creating 3D-printed, low-cost, durable violins for music students, researchers have explored the factors that result in the best violin sounds and performed a concerto composed specifically for 3D-printed instruments. The violin was created in two sections. The body is made of a plastic polymer material and designed to produce a resonant tone, while the neck and fingerboard are printed in smooth ABS plastic to be comfortable in the musician’s hands. The result is a violin that produces a darker, more mellow sound than traditionally made instruments.
Media Invited to Explore Urban Acoustics with a ‘Sound Walk’ of Nashville #ASA183
The 183rd ASA Meeting will include an urban sound walk, in which media are invited to explore Nashville, its sounds, and efforts to design projects that enhance the sonic environment and mitigate noise. Following the walk, ASA will host a workshop on soundscape design and how planning can be used to create sustainable, walkable, livable urban environments. The walk is an opportunity for media and anyone interested in urban soundscapes, while the workshop is intended for city planners, architects, officials, and others whose work lies on the interface between sound and the community. All are welcome.
New study shows spiders use webs to extend their hearing
A newly published study of orb-weaving spiders — has yielded some extraordinary results: The spiders are using their webs as extended auditory arrays to capture sounds, possibly giving spiders advanced warning of incoming prey or predators.
Artificial intelligence answers the call for quail information
When states want to gauge quail populations, the process can be grueling, time-consuming and expensive. It means spending hours in the field listening for calls. Or leaving a recording device in the field to catch what sounds are made—only to spend hours later listening to that audio. Then, repeating this process until there’s enough information to start making population estimates.
But a new model developed by researchers at the University of Georgia aims to streamline this process. By using artificial intelligence to analyze terabytes of recordings for quail calls, the process gives wildlife managers the ability to gather the data they need in a matter of minutes.
Researchers discover how sound reduces pain in mice
An international team of scientists has identified the neural mechanisms through which sound blunts pain in mice. The findings, which could inform development of safer methods to treat pain, were published in Science.
Moth wing-inspired sound absorbing wallpaper in sight after breakthrough
Experts at the University of Bristol have discovered that the scales on moth wings act as excellent sound absorbers even when placed on an artificial surface.
Making Racetrack Noise Bearable with Physics #ASA182
Raceways can produce noise from many kinds of vehicles, such as race cars, street race cars, racing motorcycles, go-karts, monster trucks, and cheering spectators. During the 182nd ASA Meeting, Bonnie Schnitta, from SoundSense LLC, will discuss her efforts to reduce the noise in a Michigan neighborhood from a nearby raceway. She and her team examined several different types of barriers, including berms, acoustic barriers, or dense foliage, to block that noise from reaching surrounding houses and businesses.
To Better Understand Speech, Focus on Who Is Talking
Researchers have found that matching the locations of faces with the speech sounds they are producing significantly improves our ability to understand them, especially in noisy areas where other talkers are present. In the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, they outline a set of online experiments that mimicked aspects of distracting scenes to learn more about how we focus on one audio-visual talker and ignore others.
Algorithm Finds Personalized Sound Zones in Cars for Driver, Passengers
In The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, published by the Acoustical Society of America through AIP Publishing, researchers from Stellantis and Laboratoire d’Acoustique de l’Universite du Mans outline an algorithm that adapts personalized sound zones within a car to changes in seat position, allowing riders to listen to their own audio without headphones and interruption.
Voices of Reason? Study Links Acoustic Correlations, Gender to Vocal Appeal
What makes a voice attractive? The question is the subject of broad interest, with far-reaching implications in our personal lives, the workplace, and society. In The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, scientists describe research that explores the interactions between gender and articulatory precision to gauge vocal attractiveness. They were surprised to find a sizable gender difference in speech intelligibility.
Compact Speaker Systems Direct Sound Efficiently
In JASA Express Letters, researchers developed three designs for compact speaker systems that control the direction of sound more efficiently than previous models. For each speaker, the scientists were able to manipulate the timing and strength of the outgoing sound waves. They combined multiple speakers together into an array and used the constructive and destructive interference of sound waves to their advantage.
Human Voice Recognition AI Now a reality — “Thai Speech Emotion Recognition Data Sets and Models” Now Free to Download
Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Engineering and the Faculty of Arts have jointly developed the “Thai Speech Emotion Recognition Data Sets and Models”, now available for free downloads, to help enhance sales operations and service systems to better respond to customers’ needs.
The human ear detects half a millisecond delay in sound
Acoustics researchers at Aalto University, in collaboration with professional monitoring loudspeaker manufacturer Genelec, have investigated just how small of a variation in sound delay the human ear can detect in the most sensitive frequency range for hearing. People normally hear sound in the range of 20 and 20,000 hertz.
COVID-19 Creates Hearing, Balance Disorders, Aggravates Tinnitus Symptoms
Evidence suggests auditory and vestibular effects should be added to the growing list of physiological impacts of COVID-19. During the 180th Meeting, Colleen Le Prell from the University of Texas at Dallas will talk about hearing and balance disorders associated with coronavirus infection and how pandemic-related stress and anxiety may aggravate tinnitus symptoms. Her presentation, “Hearing disorders secondary to infection with SARS-CoV-2,” will take place Thursday, June 10.
Headphones, Earbuds Impact Younger Generations’ Future Audio Health
As more people are taking advantage of music on the go, personal audio systems are pumping up the volume to the detriment of the listener’s hearing. During the 180th ASA Meeting, Daniel Fink from The Quiet Coalition and Jan Mayes will talk about current research into personal audio system usage and the need for public health hearing conservation policies. Their session, “Personal audio system use can harm auditory health,” will take place Thursday, June 10.
Pandemic Quarantine Acoustically Contributes to Mental, Physical Health Degradation
The prolonged impact of the COVID-19 pandemic created widespread lockdown fatigue and increased social tension in multiunit housing, but small improvements in quality-of-life routines may help people cope. During the 180th ASA Meeting, Braxton Boren from American University will discuss noise prevention techniques and the use of alterative acoustic stimulation to help those who find themselves in pandemic-related lockdowns. The session, “The Soundscape of Quarantine,” will take place Wednesday, June 9.
Acoustical Evolution Increases Battle Between Predator, Prey
In the battle between hunter and hunted, sound plays an integral part in success or failure. In the case of bats vs. moths, the insects are using acoustics against their winged foes. During the 180th ASA Meeting, Thomas Neil from the University of Bristol will discuss how moth wings have evolved in composition and structure to help them create anti-bat defenses. The session, “Moth wings are acoustic metamaterials,” will take place Wednesday, June 9.
Measuring Sound Diversity of Quietness
The world is filled with myriad sounds that can overwhelm a person with relentless acoustics. Noise is so prevalent in everyday life that the concept and achievement of comfortable quiet is hard to define. During the 180th ASA Meeting, Aggelos Tsaligopoulos from the University of the Aegean will describe how quiet could be measured in the hopes of better understanding its impact on people. The session, “Towards a new understanding of the concept of quietness,” will take place Wednesday, June 9.
Personalized Soundscape Could Help People with Dementia with Time, Place Recognition
Designing a soundscape to improve quality of life for an individual is centered on putting their perception at the heart of the process. During the 180th ASA Meeting, Arezoo Talebzadeh from Ghent University will show how a personalized soundscape can help those with dementia by providing clues regarding time of day and place. The session, “Soundscape design for people with dementia; the correlation between psychoacoustic parameter and human perception,” will take place Wednesday, June 9.
Balancing Speech Intelligibility, Face Covering Effectiveness in Classrooms During the Pandemic
A better understanding of the impacts of face masks and shields on acoustic transmission in classrooms could help optimize educational settings. During the 180th ASA Meeting, Laura and Rich Ruhala from Kennesaw State University will talk about how various types of face coverings may affect students’ understanding of their teacher. Their presentation, “Acoustical transmission of face coverings used to reduce coronavirus transmission in a classroom environment,” will take place Tuesday, June 8.
Teaching Drones to Hear Screams from Catastrophe Victims
Unmanned aerial vehicles may help emergency crews find those in need and provide situational awareness over a large area. During the 180th ASA Meeting, Macarena Varela from Fraunhofer FKIE will describe how a system using an array of microphones and advanced processing techniques could be a lifesaver for disaster victims. The session, “Bearing Estimation of Screams Using a Volumetric Microphone Array Mounted on a UAV,” will take place Tuesday, June 8.
Acoustics in Focus: Virtual Press Conference Schedule for 180th Meeting of Acoustical Society of America
Press conferences at the 180th ASA Meeting will cover the latest in acoustical research during the Acoustics in Focus meeting. The virtual press conferences will take place each day of the meeting and offer reporters and outlets the opportunity to hear key presenters talk about their research. To ensure the safety of attendees, volunteers, and ASA staff, Acoustics in Focus will be hosted entirely online.
MEDIA ADVISORY: Story, Feature Ideas from 180th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America
The 180th ASA Meeting, being held virtually June 8-10, will feature sessions on how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted hearing health, affected noise annoyance in urban settings, and adjusted how teachers talked and listened to their students. There will be presentations on how acoustics shapes speech in children, impacts mental health, and potentially signals health problems.
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.
Study in Newborn Mice Suggests Sounds Influence the Developing Brain Earlier than Previously Thought
Scientists have yet to answer the age-old question of whether or how sound shapes the minds of fetuses in the womb, and expectant mothers often wonder about the benefits of such activities as playing music during pregnancy. Now, in experiments in newborn mice, scientists at Johns Hopkins report that sounds appear to change “wiring” patterns in areas of the brain that process sound earlier than scientists assumed and even before the ear canal opens.
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.
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.
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.
Acoustics Virtually Everywhere: Schedule for ASA Meeting Press Conferences Dec. 9-11
Press conferences at the 179th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of American will cover the latest in acoustical research, from the impact of face masks to the beating of mosquito wings, and will be held virtually Dec. 9-11. To ensure the safety of attendees, volunteers, and ASA staff, Acoustics Virtually Everywhere will be hosted entirely online.
Save-the-Date: Virtual Scientific Meeting on Sound, Dec. 7-11
The Acoustical Society of America will hold its 179th meeting Dec. 7-11. To ensure the safety of attendees, volunteers, and ASA staff, the December meeting, “Acoustics Virtually Everywhere,” will be hosted entirely online. The conference brings together interdisciplinary groups of scientists spanning physics, medicine, music, psychology, architecture, and engineering to discuss their latest research — including research related to COVID-19.
$13.48M Awarded To Johns Hopkins Scientists To Develop Implantable Ultrasound Devices For Patients With Spinal Cord Injury
A team of Johns Hopkins neurosurgeons and biomedical engineers has received $13.48 million from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop implantable ultrasound and other devices that could revolutionize care for people suffering from spinal cord injuries. The results could benefit thousands of U.S. service members and civilians who sustain spinal cord injuries every year.
Speaker Change: International Year of Sound Events Explore Acoustics from Steelpan Music to Oceanography
The Acoustical Society of America continues to host virtual events in August as part of the International Year of Sound. The ASA Student Council will host Virtual Student Summer Talks for science students to present their research on topics ranging from acoustical oceanography to speech communication and Andrew Morrison will discuss how the acoustical physics of the steelpan helps machine learning algorithms process large datasets. All events are open to the public, and admission is free.
The science of sound: Researchers suggest use of artificial tones in perception experiments could be missing the mark
Researchers at McMaster University who study how the brain processes sound have discovered the common practice of using artificial tones in perception experiments could mean scientists are overlooking important and interesting discoveries in the field of brain research
Video — More Than Baby Debuts: Ultrasound Is Used To Deliver Drugs, Treat Tremors
Ultrasound is probably most associated with a parent’s first glimpse of a baby in the womb. However, a new video from the Acoustical Society of America showcases the technology’s abilities to do more than show images of our insides. This video is the second in a series celebrating the International Year of Sound.
Parents and Teachers: International Competition Encourages Virtual Learning for K-12 Students Inspired by Sounds of the World
The Acoustical Society of America is calling on U.S. students to submit acoustics-related art and lyrics as part of the International Year of Sound 2020 celebration. K-12 students across the U.S. can participate in an international competition for primary, middle and secondary students from all over the world. It is also an opportunity to include an element of STEM education for so many students in need of enriching curriculum while being away from school due to coronavirus concerns.
Physicists propose new filter for blocking high-pitched sounds
Need to reduce high-pitched noises? Science may have an answer. In a new study, theoretical physicists report that materials made from tapered chains of spherical beads could help dampen sounds that lie at the upper range of human hearing or just beyond.
ASA, CDC Plan Revamp of Sound-Related Wikipedia Pages for International Year of Sound 2020
As harmful effects of noise are becoming more widely known, popular internet websites are increasingly being used as resources of information. For the International Year of Sound 2020 (#IYS2020), the Acoustical Society of America and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, part of the CDC, took the lead in designing the online event Wiki4YearOfSound2020. The event will facilitate the improvement of Wikipedia content in topics related to acoustics, communication, music, noise and soundscapes.
Schedule for ASA Press Conferences with Live Webcasts from San Diego
Press conferences for the 178th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America will be held Tuesday, Dec. 3, in Hospitality Suite 3103 of the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego. They will focus on research into sounds from virtual reality to the deep ocean and making music from tiny atoms and 3D printing. In addition, 2020 will be celebrated as the International Year of Sound, and a kickoff event will take place during the meeting.