Posts Tagged ‘education’

STEM Blossoms

It has been a great year for the Hajjar STEM Center at Dwight-Englewood School in New Jersey, a project we recently completed with Gensler—it has been featured in Fast Company, CNNArchitect Magazine, and Business Insider, and was just announced as a 2016 Award of Merit winner by the AIA’s Committee on Architecture for Education (CAE).  The building’s open and flexible learning environment encourages collaboration and experimentation, with acoustical treatments targeting clear communication and sound separation.

Sight of sound

Your eardrum converts the motion of the air into something you can hear, but what if everything around you could work the same way? In a recent TED Talk, MIT researcher Abe Davis demonstrates cutting edge research into extracting audio from silent video of everyday objects exposed to sound. Using high-speed video equipment and even a consumer-level camera, he extracts intelligible music and speech just by watching a nearby houseplant or a snack bag—the proverbial “fly on the wall”. Acknowledging the surveillance possibilities (which were already feasible using lasers), the research pushes beyond audio to expose the natural modal movement of an object by simply ensonifying it and recording what happens, allowing one to push, pull, and shake something virtually without ever touching it.

The Institute takes the floor

The Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate was dedicated this week at a ceremony attended by the President, Vice President, the Kennedy family, and former colleagues of the Senator, with coverage on Meet the Press and the New York Times. The Institute is adjacent to the JFK Library on the University of Massachusetts Boston campus and includes classrooms, exhibit space, and a full size replica of the United States Senate chamber. Working with Rafael Viñoly Architects, we helped the building architectural and mechanical designs achieve acoustic environments conducive to speech intelligibility, learning, productivity, and reflection.  The Institute opens to the public on March 31, 2015—see you there!

Building Design + Construction Magazine – Enhanced Acoustical Design

Just in case you missed the August issue of Building Design + Construction Magazine, there was a very interesting article on Enhanced Acoustical Design on page 45.  Truth be told we may be a bit biased as we helped with the article – but you can earn AIA/CES credit for reading it too!

Building Design + Construction Enhanced Acoustical Design


Listen up, kids

The Acoustical Society of America, an international scientific society, has unveiled a new educational website aimed at kids (and their parents and teachers):

Explore Sound

Aimed at developing an early interest in “the science of sound”, the Explore Sound site features information on the science of acoustics, online demonstrations, project ideas, and curriculum materials for teachers (including a free series of posters, available on request in any of six languages).  The site even details some of the things that we acousticians do for a living, and what could be more interesting than that!

Catch a wave

You may know that the sounds you hear travel through the air as waves, but the invisibility of air makes this concept a tricky one to visualize.  For those who like physics demonstrations (and who doesn’t), we recently came across this video of a series of pendulums—and the pendulum is perhaps the most accessible form of wave motion we witness in everyday life.

A pendulum’s length determines its frequency, just as sound waves in air have a frequency that corresponds to pitch.  The demonstration superimposes different frequencies to illustrate traveling waves, standing waves, beats, and “random” noise, which are all phenomena that come from mixing different frequencies together.