Science 3 min read

Best Applications for This Metamaterial That can Shape Sound

Duke University metamaterial superlens |

Duke University metamaterial superlens |

There are new opportunities for the way that we can experience sound thanks research of a super metamaterial. Exhibiting unprecedented behaviors, the material is capable of shaping sound waves.

University of Sussex researchers have discovered sound shaping properties in a metamaterial.Click To Tweet

Shaping Sound With a Metamaterial

Researchers at the University of Sussex have discovered new and surprising behavior in metamaterials.

A metamaterial is designed to have physical properties that are unlike those of anything found in nature. Already, scientists have performed studies on the effects of light on some of these materials, exploring the ways that they bend and manipulate light in nature-defying ways to become “invisible.”

After beginning to study the effects of sound on certain materials, researchers have discovered a new super material that appears to change the way audio waves pass through it.

Different kinds of bricks made of the material are 3D printed, assembled together, and then placed in an acoustic field. As sound passes through the material, it changes, based on the arrangement of the bricks. In fact, “the space coiling bricks act to slow down the sound, meaning that incoming sound waves can be transformed into any required sound field.” The bricks are arranged to form a sound field, of which there are countless possibilities.

The bricks are arranged to form a sound field, which, in terms of applying the technology, there are countless possibilities.

Immediate Applications

Because of the ease of 3D printing production, the material can easily be used for multiple kinds of applications, and be produced quickly and inexpensively at any size.

This fascinating new research will have huge implications in both audio and medical fields.

The team at Sussex hopes to be able to manipulate sound in ways that are similar to LCD light systems and projectors and to further explore the new ways that sound can be channeled and altered for audio and visual experiences. This could be great for creating realistic sensations in VR, even giving the systems the ability to replicate touch.

Likewise, the material has the potential to be useful in ultrasonic haptics for next-gen devices.

For medical purposes, researchers are hoping that the bricks will be of use for cancer treatment and detection. High-intensity ultrasounds are now more possible, with researchers thinking that sound can be focused directly on tumors or specific locations in the bodies.

The new metamaterial tech can also be used in ultrasounds medical diagnoses and may prove to be more accurate because of the specific reaction that the material has when exposed to audio waves.

Seeing Sound

Edgy Labs Readers: How does your favorite song look? Use the video below to create an inexpensive music visualizer and capture all your favorite tunes from a new perspective.

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