Happy Birthday, Doppler! Sounds, Sights, and Software of the Doppler Effect

November 29 is the 205th birthday anniversary of Christian Doppler, the Austrian mathematician and physicist who hypothesized what’s now called the Doppler Effect. (You know, that effect when an ambulance or other fast-moving vehicle flies by and the perceived pitch changes.) That calls for Doppler trivia, astrophysics, audio software, and a drink. In celebration, go check out the excellent Wikipedia page on the Doppler Effect, including one of my favorite Physics equations (while I wasn’t failing.) And if the idea isn’t sinking in, there are plenty of online demonstrations of why this effect occurs. (Science aside, I also recommend celebrating …

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Digitally Modeling Percussion: DJ/Scientist Cynthia Bruyns

[Updated: Had the wrong record label — it’s not Muti, it’s Pretension. Though Pretension is also cool.] I asked readers to brag about their work, and, wow, does Cynthia Bruyns have amazing things to brag about: She’s a DJ — check out her mixes She’s working part-time with Apple’s Interactive Media group She’s involved with a really cool electronic record label She’s been busy modeling instruments in 3D The Vibration Lab is a sophisticated 3D modeling app for the Mac that accurately models percussive sounds. (Digitally-modeled cowbell? Not so far-fetched, after all!) See the project page for audio samples. She …

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Rope and Sound: Tensegrity as Musical Instrument [Updated]

Rope and Sound is an installation that uses rope tension to control sound. Pull on a cord, and the change in tension triggers electronic thuds and mellow chimes. The trick is conductive fibers braided into the rope; as the tension changes, the conduction of the rope changes, as well. I got a chance to try out the installation at New York’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. The show is up through October 30 and well worth a visit if you’re passing through town. The installation is beautiful and the concept brilliant, but the sound aspect was somewhat disappointing. The sounds themselves …

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