Scientists from The Universities of Sussex and Bristol have invented a new material that shapes sound by bending and focusing the sound waves travelling through it.
It is a metamaterial, which is defined as “[…] a material engineered to have a property that is not found in nature.” It has the potential for exciting applications in personal acoustics, as well as ground-breaking ones in the medical field.
Personal acoustics applications could include audio spotlights or inexpensive and easily customizable, 3D printed acoustics kits. Medical applications include customized high intensity ultrasounds to attack tumours deep in a patient’s body.
This isn’t the first time metamaterials have excited scientists. Others have been bending light in labs for some time. Perhaps the most common is a real version of an invisibility cloak, like the one referenced in the Harry Potter book series.
But it’s powerful that this technology now has acoustical applications, and it reminds us of some of the other recent revolutions in our field – like DeAmp Transparent Sound Absorber Panels. These clear panels practically disappear into the background when placed in front of hard materials like glass and wood, but are excellent acoustic absorbers. This is achieved through airflow resistance via the micro slits in the panels. For the first time, soundproofing solutions won’t compromise modern architecture and design.
Learn more about them here.