Windshield Wipers Now, Who-Knows-What Next

Now that I’ve finished lamenting the failures of the human brain, it’s time now to move on and write about one of its many triumphs, starting with what might be the earliest of the year.

Science fiction is synonymous with lots of crazy and spectacular things: faster than light travel, holograms, induced levitation by whatever means, and artificial intelligence, to name a few. But by far the craziest thing about science fiction is its ability to somehow assert itself over naysayers and fiction itself by slowly but surely becoming reality.

One staple of scifi literature is artificially suspending or manipulating objects in midair, usually by means of artificial gravity. We still haven’t gotten to that point yet, but scientists at the University of Tokyo have settled for the next best thing: sonic levitation and manipulation. To make a long and rather complex story short, this project makes use of a 3 Dimensional arrangement of the speakers: that is, instead of soundwaves bouncing off of steel plates they would instead meet at a common focal point depending on the frequencies set, which is the site of where said manipulation would take place. To make this even shorter, just watch the video available  in the main article for a demonstration of how this works. I’ve seen it myself, and I gotta say, it’s very impressive.

The first thing this brought to mind was how similar this was to the arrangements of orchestras and how their very location would affect the sound produced. It’s no secret that people in Japan love music, especially classical music (fitting that the music in the aforementioned is a MIDI take on  Strauss’ “Blue Danube Waltz”, eh?), so I wouldn’t be surprised if this was one of the leading sources of inspiration for this experiment. Maybe it was that or science fiction, I have no way of telling. Either way, it would be interesting to see what kind of applications this technology would have; already McLaren cars is supposedly making use of this technology on their cars to replace windshield wipers. It may seem like an insignificant step forward, but I say baby steps like these are always a good way to probe ahead into future endeavors where technology like this is concerned. And they say that we as a species aren’t going anywhere at all.

Y’all take care now.



About optimistthepessimist

Always in transit.
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