Public Release: 

Singing spiders, bleating pandas, better headphones and more

Dozens of lay-language papers describing breakthroughs to be presented at upcoming Acoustical Society of America Meeting in Pittsburgh are now available online

Acoustical Society of America

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 18, 2015 - Wind turbines causing cluckus interruptus in prairie chickens, tranquility at a conservation center, better blood pressure monitors with wearables, improved voice recognition software, language emergence with cochlear implants, and a vibrational analysis of graphite tennis rackets are just some of the highlights from the lay-language versions of papers to be presented at the 169th meeting of the Acoustical Society of America (ASA), held May 18-22 in Pittsburgh.

These summaries are posted online in the ASA's Pressroom; many contain sounds, images, and videos. The following are excerpts of selected lay-language papers. The entire collection can be found here: http://acoustics.org/current-meeting.

Lay-language Paper Highlights

    1. On Bleats, in the Year of the Sheep

    2. Could wind turbine noise interfere with greater prairie chicken courtship?

    3. The "Sounds of Silence" at a Wildlife Conservation Center

    4. Emergence of Spoken Language in Deaf Children Receiving a Cochlear Implant

    5. Cardiovascular Effects of Noise on Man

    6. Improving the Accuracy of Automatic Detection of Emotions From Speech

    7. Sternal vibrations reflect hemodynamic changes during immersion: underwater ballistocardiography

    8. Fabricating Blood Vessels with Ultrasound

    9. Hollow vs. Foam-filled racket: Feel-good vibrations

    10. Improving Headphone Spatialization: Fixing a problem you've learned to accept

    11. Can a spider "sing"? If so, who might be listening?

    12. The Origins of Building Acoustics for Theatre and Music Performances

1. On Bleats, in the Year of the Sheep

"From deer to polar bears; muskoxen to sea lions, the young bleats produce a sound of enough character to allow easy detection and possible identification by concerned mothers. ... But for some notable exceptions, this is not the case." http://acoustics.org/on-bleats-in-the-year-of-the-sheep/

2. Could wind turbine noise interfere with greater prairie chicken courtship?

"The Sand Hills eco-region of central Nebraska is distinguished by rolling grass-stabilized sand dunes that rise up gently from the Ogallala aquifer. ... Early on frigid, wind-swept, late-winter mornings, a low pitched hum, interrupted by the occasional dawn song of a Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta) and other songbirds inhabiting the region, is virtually impossible to ignore." VIDEO AND SOUND CLIPS AVAILABLE http://acoustics.org/1paba2-could-wind-turbine-noise-interfere-with-greater-prairie-chicken-tympanuchus-cupido-pinnatus-courtship-edward-j-walsh-joann-mcgee/

3. The "Sounds of Silence" at a Wildlife Conservation Center

"Some people are attracted to large parks due in part to their "peace and quiet" (McKenna 2013). But even in a desert, a snake may be heard to slither or wind may sigh between rocks. Does silence in fact exist? Finding truly quiet places, in nature or the built environment is increasingly difficult." AUDIO AVAILABLE http://acoustics.org/2aab7-nocturnal-peace-at-a-conservation-center-for-species-survival-suzi-wiseman/

4. Emergence of Spoken Language in Deaf Children Receiving a Cochlear Implant

"Before the advent of Cochlear Implants (CI), children who were born profoundly deaf acquired spoken language and literacy skills with great difficulty and over many years of intensive education. Even with the most powerful hearing aids and early intervention, children learned spoken language at about half the normal rate, and fell further behind in language and reading with increasing age. ... This study followed 60 children implanted between 12 and 38 months of age when they were 3, 4 and 10 years old. By age 10, 95% of them were enrolled in regular education settings with hearing age mates." http://acoustics.org/emergence-of-spoken-language-in-deaf-children-receiving-a-cochlear-implant-geers/

5. Cardiovascular Effects of Noise on Man

"Sound penetrates our life everywhere. It is an essential component of our social life. We need it for communication, orientation and as a warning signal... The evidence is increasing that ambient noise levels below hearing damaging intensities are associated with the occurrence of metabolic disorders (type 2 diabetes), high blood pressure (hypertension), coronary heart diseases (including myocardial infarction), and stroke." http://acoustics.org/cardiovascular-effects-of-noise-on-man-wolfgang-babisch/

6. Improving the Accuracy of Automatic Detection of Emotions From Speech

"Computers that can recognize human emotions could react appropriately to a user's needs and provide more human like interactions. Emotion recognition can also be used as a diagnostic tool for medical purposes, onboard car driving systems to keep the driver alert if stress is detected, a similar system in aircraft cockpits, and also electronic tutoring and interaction with virtual agents or robots. But is it really possible for computers to detect the emotions of their users? " AUDIO AND IMAGES AVAILABLE http://acoustics.org/2psc14-improving-the-accuracy-of-automatic-detection-of-emotions-from-speech-reza-asadi-harriet-fell/

7. Sternal vibrations reflect hemodynamic changes during immersion: underwater ballistocardiography

"In 2014, one out of every four internet users in the United States wore a wearable device such as a smart watch or fitness monitor. ... Recently, researchers have improved a technique called ballistocardiography, or BCG, that uses one or more mechanical sensors, such as an accelerometer worn on the body, to measure very small vibrations originating from the beating heart." IMAGES AVAILABLE http://acoustics.org/3aba12-sternal-vibrations-reflect-hemodynamic-changes-during-immersion-underwater-ballistocardiography-andrew-wiens-andrew-carek-omar-t-inan/

8. Fabricating Blood Vessels with Ultrasound

"Tissue engineers have successfully fabricated relatively thin tissues, such as skin substitutes, that can receive nutrients and oxygen by simple diffusion. However, recreating larger and/or more complex tissues and organs will require developing methods to fabricate functional microvascular networks to bring nutrients to all areas of the tissue for survival. ... In the laboratories of Diane Dalecki, Ph.D. and Denise C. Hocking, Ph.D., research is underway to develop new ultrasound technologies to control and enhance the fabrication of artificial tissues." http://acoustics.org/3aba5-fabricating-blood-vessels-with-ultrasound-diane-dalecki-ph-d-eric-s-comeau-m-s-denise-c-hocking-ph-d/

9. Hollow vs. Foam-filled racket: Feel-good vibrations

"The typical modern tennis racket has a light-weight, hollow graphite frame with a large head. Though these rackets are easier to swing, there seems to be an increase in the number of players experiencing injuries commonly known as 'tennis elbow.' ... A recent new solid foam-filled graphite racket design claims to reduce the risk of injury." IMAGES AVAILABLE http://acoustics.org/3asa11-hollow-vs-foam-filled-racket-feel-good-vibrations-kritika-vayur-dr-daniel-a-russell/

10. Improving Headphone Spatialization: Fixing a problem you've learned to accept

"The days of grabbing a drink, brushing dust from your favorite record and playing it in the listening room of the house are long gone. Today, with the portability technology has enabled, almost everybody listens to music on their headphones. However, most commercially produced stereo music is mixed and mastered for playback on loudspeakers - this presents a problem for the growing number of headphone listeners. ... In order to improve the spatialization of headphones, the listener's ears must be deceived into thinking that they are listening to the music inside of a listening room." IMAGE AVAILABLE http://acoustics.org/3aspb5-improving-headphone-spatialization-fixing-a-problem-youve-learned-to-accept/

11. Can a spider "sing"? If so, who might be listening?

"While other acoustically communicating species like crickets and katydids have evolved structures for producing sound, these [wolf] spiders are vibrating structures in their environment (dead leaves) to create sound. Since we know spiders do not possess typical "ears" for hearing these sounds, we are interested in finding out if females or other males are able to use these sounds in communication. If they do, then this species could be used as an unusual model for the evolution of acoustic communication." SINGING SPIDER AUDIO AVAILABLE http://acoustics.org/4pab3-can-a-spider-sing-if-so-who-might-be-listening-alexander-l-sweger-george-w-uetz

12. The Origins of Building Acoustics for Theatre and Music Performances

"The ancient open amphitheatres and the roofed odeia of the Greek-Roman era present the earliest testament of public buildings designed for effective communication of theatrical and music performances over large audiences, often up to 15,000 spectators. ... Thousand of years ago, these antique theatres established acoustic functionality principles that even today prevail for the proper presentation of theatre and music performances to public audiences and thus signal the origins of the art and science in building acoustics.

IMAGES AVAILABLE

http://acoustics.org/the-origins-of-building-acoustics-for-theatre-and-music-performances-john-mourjopoulos

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ABOUT THE MEETING

The 169th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America (ASA) will be held May 18-22, 2015, at the Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh Downtown Hotel. It will feature nearly 1,000 presentations on sound and its applications in physics, engineering, music, architecture and medicine. Reporters are invited to cover the meeting remotely or attend in person for free.

PRESS REGISTRATION

We will grant free registration to credentialed journalists and professional freelance journalists. If you are a reporter and would like to attend, contact Jason Bardi (jbardi@aip.org, 240-535-4954), who can also help with setting up interviews and obtaining images, sound clips, or background information.

USEFUL LINKS

Main meeting website: http://acousticalsociety.org/content/spring-2015-meeting

Itinerary planner and technical program: https://asa2015spring.abstractcentral.com/planner.jsp

Meeting/Hotel site: http://acousticalsociety.org/content/hotel-availability-pittsburgh-meeting

Press Room: http://acoustics.org/world-wide-press-room

Webcast: http://www.aipwebcasting.com

WORLD WIDE PRESS ROOM

ASA's World Wide Press Room is being updated with additional tips on dozens of newsworthy stories and with lay-language papers, which are 300-1,200 word summaries of presentations written by scientists for a general audience and accompanied by photos, audio, and video.

LIVE MEDIA WEBCAST

A press briefing featuring a selection of newsworthy research will be webcast live from the conference on Tuesday, May 19. Topics and times to be announced. To register, visit http://www.aipwebcasting.com.

ABOUT THE ACOUSTICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA

The Acoustical Society of America (ASA) is the premier international scientific society in acoustics devoted to the science and technology of sound. Its 7,000 members worldwide represent a broad spectrum of the study of acoustics. ASA publications include The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America (the world's leading journal on acoustics), Acoustics Today magazine, books, and standards on acoustics. The society also holds two major scientific meetings each year. For more information about ASA, visit our website at http://www.acousticalsociety.org.

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