Inspirational story about musician who found solution to keep playing his favorite instrument
When aspiring drummer Jason Barnes lost his right arm two year ago, he didn’t give up on his dream of being a professional drummer. Instead, he built a crude prosthetic using springs that allowed him to keep playing his favorite instrument.
His efforts and passion for the music got him enrolled at the Atlanta Institute of Music and Media, where he met Professor Gil Weinberg who realized he could build Barnes something better.
In addition to a small robot arm that allows Barnes to accurately control a drumstick vis-à-vis the muscles in his upper arm, the prosthetic also has a second drumstick that plays autonomously. It includes a microphone and accelerometer to read Barnes’ rhythm, and it automatically starts drumming along with a complementary rhythm of its own.
Barnes still needs to perfect the use of his new prosthetic, but things are working out so well so far that he will actually be performing in a concert at the Atlanta Science Festival in a few weeks, where he’ll be playing alongside some of the school’s other autonomous devices.
Called the “VIBSO headphones”, this headband is actually meant to serve as an alternative to ear buds and headphones, even though they don’t actually go in the ear.
Designed by Ecole Cantonale d’art de Lausanne student Renaud Defrancesco, the VIBSO is made of transparent acrylic glass and sends music vibrations across its surface to the user’s ears via a vibrating electromagnet.
The magnet works, more or less, like a speaker, which has a connecting element that causes a membrane to vibrate and create sounds. In the case of VIBSO, the membrane is the glass, which transmits sound very well, and is also flexible and easy to form.
The vibrations move down the membrane and over the surface that covers part of the ears. This allows the user to wear the headband without feeling the actual vibrations running across their noggin. The shape of the VIBSO directs the sound directly inward so that only the wearer hears the music.
If need be, the headband can be covered for added comfort. Users can also share the music by letting someone put their ear up against the other side of the band. Personal space issues are up to the individuals.
According to Defrancesco, the purpose of the VIBSO headphones is to allow the user to be “bathed in music without being isolated like with normal headphones, which can be dangerous because you don’t hear what’s around you.”
Artist experiments with the design of the personal sound system
Gotta love artists – always taking what we thought we once knew and blowing it up and creating something entirely new and different. Take for instance, the personal sound system. You think you know what it is:
Then BAM – an artist like Dmitry Morozov comes around and creates something completely new. Called “Anywhere”, what you see below is an ordinary umbrella, stripped of its cloth, and outfitted with an Arduino Uno microcontroller, optical relays, and a micro SD wav player to create a system that literally immerses the user into a veil of sound.
With 750 watts of power, pack can power bike up to 18mph
An electrical engineer by the name of Jeff Guida has developed a pretty nifty product called the ShareRoller, basically a portable and detachable electric motor kit designed to turn a regular old bicycle into a high-flying electric bike.
Safety app will use audio intelligence software to protect users
Look — we want you to enjoy our Bluetooth portable speakers, but we don’t want you to get so distracted by all of their audio awesomeness, or so involved in the music thumping in your headphones, that you wind up getting hurt.
That’s why we’re big proponents of the new app that the folks over at One Llama are working on. It’s called “Audio Aware” and in layman’s terms, the program uses audio intelligence software to listen to the world around its user for specific sounds that they might want to be aware of.
Some examples include screeching tires, car horns, screaming voices, roaring dinosaurs, and so on. When a sound matches, the app lets the user know:
When a sufficient match, such as a car horn, is detected, it will cancel any audio you’re hearing and pipe in an amplified version of the sound it’s picking up, or perhaps a cartoon-like version of that sound that is easier to recognize.
Unfortunately, the app only works with headphones and portable speakers that have One Llama technology baked into it. That being the case, people with poor hearing or hearing loss stand to benefit from downloading it in the immediate future. But the company is actively working with developers to expand the app’s capabilities to better “listen” to the world around us using standard audio equipment, so that we can all continue safely listening to our music on our favorite devices.