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Introducing the AUDIOLUMITRON; Sounds you have never before heard

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  • Introducing the AUDIOLUMITRON; Sounds you have never before heard

    I have been busy experimenting with the "sound of light" principle that I stumbled on a week or two ago. There is a lot going on around us that we aren't aware of. I have developed the detection instrument to a useful prototype stage with reasonably good performance and built in analytic capability.

    I have also been doing quite a bit of research online and am still amazed to find... nothing. There are no apparent patents, papers or descriptions of the device I have developed. While I still find it nearly impossible to believe it seems that there may be a chance that it is an original invention. Accordingly, since this constitutes disclosure, I have a year to apply for patents. I have also selected an appropriate name for the device, one that also does not appear anywhere that I can find. It is the Audiolumitron. Audio of course refers to sound and lumen is Latin for light. "tron" is a second choice suffix as I would prefer the term audiolumiscope but "Lumiscope" is the name of a large maker of sonography instruments and stethoscopes.

    This is the instrument. In case you missed the previous thread it collects light via a lens and focuses it on a light sensitive receptor. A signal is produced when the light intensity varies for any reason. This signal is amplified significantly and is then made available as sound via a speaker or headphones as well as an input to a recording device.

    As it happens, there is plenty of modulated light laying about to listen to. All sorts of things both man made and completely natural are busy modulating light with resulting sounds to translate from the invisible flickering all around us. Since the human eye cannot perceive flickering above about 70 times per second all of this "hidden sound" is beyond our perception. The chances are that it is beyond the perception of all organisms since the organic photoreceptors used are not noted for the ability to respond quickly to variations in luminous intensity.

    The device itself is relatively simple. I made all the parts from black ABS plumbing fittings combined with the shell of a cheap rechargable lantern that supplies a nice handle and appearance. Machining 5 inch diameter ABS is a bit tricky and when the tool happens to dig in it goes south faster than a retired Canadian in late fall. Several times I managed to catch the workpiece in mid air after it decided to take up gymnastics. The good thing is that the worst that happens is some gouges in the work. As the 5" OD fittings are the same OD as my 5" chuck I found that taping the OD to the chuck with electrical tape prevented it from slipping off the jaws.

    The unit is supplied with realtime frequency analysis and CD quality recording capability via a Palm T|X PDA. I hacked the TX to install an audio input jack since although it has all the circuitry to support it it doesn't have an external audio input except via the proprietary "universal" connector. It does now. The camera also provides a means to record audio and gives a record of just what phenomenon was being recorded to produce a particular sound. The camera and the PDA have the ability to record high quality digital audio and video for over an hour without interruption.

    This is the unit broken down to the main components. In this photo I have a preamplifier taped to the lens hood to improve the recording of very low level modulated light.

    More next post.
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  • #2
    part II:

    As I have been wandering around I have been very surprised what I am able to hear with this instrument. The poor power factor of CFL bulbs is very apparent in the quality of the light produced. They have a very ragged tearing sound to the 120 hz ac hum the ALT picks up. In contrast, an ordinary incandescent bulb gives off a buttery smooth ac hummmmm.

    Stepping outside the most surprising thing is the very high level of white noise present in daylight. This varies according to everything that affects the daytime illumination, time of day, clouds, surrounding trees and shade a even wind or rain. In particular I have determined that the instrument is able to detect incipient precipitation at the cloud base long before it reaches the ground. I have been able to predict both rain and snow up to half an hour before it shows up at the surface. The presence of precipitation is indicated by a very harsh increase in the noise level when the ALT is aimed at the cloud base.

    While these phenomena are very interesting by themselves I have stumbled on something else that may even qualify as original research. It has been known for about 20 years that water droplets oscillate as they fall through the air. However, it is very difficult to study them in natural conditions and there is much that is not yet known about the behaviour of droplets falling in air.

    I chanced on some answers to this question by pointing my device at a drip from the corner of the garage after a light snowfall a couple of days ago. I was amazed to hear something entirely unexpected. Not only does the falling water create very different light disturbance sounds than the audio output of the droplets, the droplets appear to be obeying some sort of harmonious quantatization principle. This was totally unexpected and when I first heard the result I put it down to a fault in my equipment causing some sort of sympathetic oscillation. That is not the case however. Enough is known about droplet oscillation for me to confirm that what I am hearing is indeed a result of the droplets oscillating as they fall and after they splash.

    I suggest you listen to this very short segment of audio. It's an MP3 of less than 100K and is the raw sound of a series of droplets hitting the gravel after falling from the gutter on my garage.

    The droplets are generating a 4 note series that are harmonically related according to multiples of the 12th root of two. This is the same as the equally tempered scale we use in the west for nearly all of our music. Even more incredible is that the first note from the first drop is almost exactly at 440hz within a tiny fraction of a percent. 440hz is the international standard for the note "A". That means the droplets are even in tune.

    Here are the same 4 notes but I have removed the noise and slowed the tempo without changing the pitch.

    I have confirmed this by analyzing the harmonic content of the sounds the droplets make.

    This illustrates how that is done using various software packages available on the net. One that I use is Audacity which is open source freeware available at SourceForge.

    I have no explanation for what might be causing this unexpected ordering of the oscillatory freqencies of the water drops. I doubt anybody else does either, yet. If anyone that reads this knows somebody that is in the research field of fluid dynamics and might be interested please give them my contact information if they are interested. I would like to speak with them.

    I have made a short video illustrating the various types of sounds and their sources. It is of intentionally poor visual quality to keep the size down around 2 megabytes. The sound is the important part. The video serves to give the source of the sound an identity. I promise you will be surprised.
    Last edited by Evan; 04-19-2008, 04:06 PM.
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    • #3
      It sure is a really cool device! This is basically a light to sound converter?
      Not to much info out there but I did find a few references you might find interesting.
      look at project 16-

      A search for light to sound converter shows up a few more.



      • #4
        The audio links didnt work for me Evan.


        • #5
          ...'page not found'..
          Lynn (Huntsville, AL)


          • #6
            I could not get the mp3 links to work (404 error, page not found). But your wmv file is astounding. The falling drops sound like Napoleon's army marching on Moscow!

            Although theologians might disagree, I've long thought that consciousness is the sum total of our sensory input. The audiolumitron may be the first device to register this new world. I foresee much interest from all curious minds.

            I hope you will inform a physicist, if you know any.
            Allan Ostling

            Phoenix, Arizona


            • #7
              I have fixed the links. I didn't know the Telus server was case sensitive on extensions.
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              • #8
                Yep, "Project 16" seems to constitute prior disclosure.......

                But it's a cool item.

                There is a similar item for electric fields (same thing, really, longer wavelength), useful for for detecting thunderstorms, but also interesting in general.
                2801 3147 6749 8779 4900 4900 4900

                Keep eye on ball.
                Hashim Khan

                It's just a box of rain, I don't know who put it there.


                • #9
                  Project 16 is the closest description I have seen but it still doesn't seem that they have noticed several of the things I have. Other than that it is an example of prior art I can use to justify a patent on about half a dozen claims I won't detail here. I have made a number of significant improvements over what is described there.

                  I will point out that by using a lens that is sharply focused on a point detector the project 16 device is very likely unable to detect much of what the Audiolumitron does.
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                  • #10
                    Bill Murray is carrying one of those things in this picture.



                    • #11
                      That is very cool! The relation to 440 hz is pretty interesting. I wonder how that came about as one of the standard frequencies- perhaps it has an esthetic appeal to humans, and somehow just 'sounded right'. I firmly believe that if we were able to follow roots deeper into the heart of things at a submicroscopic level, we'd find an intrinsic connection between all things. We are so adjacent to, surrounded by, and immersed in water in all it's forms that it's inconceivable that we aren't directly attuned to it. It's also conceivable that if we do come across extraterrestrial life, and it's liquidity base is water like ours, there will be similarities to be expected, and the term 'alien' might not apply as strongly as we might think it would.

                      How this frequency arises from a water droplet I don't know- but this experiment needs to be repeated with a lab setup. Different heights of drop, different surfaces for it to impact on, etc. Then a repeat using another liquid entirely, say a solvent- or liquid methane or ammonia. Maybe there are some surprises in store.

                      Maybe it's just a coincidence that this frequency came up during the 'audual' reading of those gutter drops.

                      Comes to mind that maybe a 'reading' of rain falling into a lake or other body of water would yield interesting results.

                      Then there is the darkroom experiment- what would this device do in the total absense of traditional light- would it pick up on emanations from the human body, or other things-
                      I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-


                      • #12
                        I wonder what a lawn sprinkler would sound like. Or a waterfall. Or a column of steam coming off a boiling pot. Then why not capture the audiolumitron of a hummng bird or a bee. A video with sound track might result in a new nature art form.


                        • #13
                          An orchestra waiting.........

                          Those sounds could be multiplied and divided. Each differerent one taking the place of a musical instrument. Make them into samples and plug them into a piece of music.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by topct
                            An orchestra waiting.........

                            Those sounds could be multiplied and divided. Each differerent one taking the place of a musical instrument. Make them into samples and plug them into a piece of music.
                            Somebody somewhere is going to want a ring tone of an audiolumitron cow phart on a cold day.


                            • #15
                              I plan on it Gene. I am collecting sounds for that purpose. Here is a little aeolian harp music I recorded just a few minutes ago. The only processing done is to normalize the volume. The harp has an incredible dynamic range.

                              Forgot to say: 1 megabyte

                              Last edited by Evan; 04-19-2008, 07:50 PM.
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