Do you know how 3-D printers work? You design a virtual 3-D image, or scan an existing object, and send it to a 3-D printer. It then prints out your image, one layer at a time.
Typically, it’s a photo-reactive resin that prints out as a liquid that hardens. It’s really amazing technology. Now, researchers have found an inexpensive and simple way to bend sound waves.
How to customize sound waves for individual users
How this works is, a new ‘super-material’ can be shaped into fingernail-sized bricks by a 3-D printer. These bricks are then placed into a sheet, or meta-surface, with other bricks, which are used to control sound waves.
Once the sheet is loaded with the bricks, you stick it onto the front of a speaker. This essentially creates an audio “hotspot” and sound is directed at the user.
Only the intended user will be able to hear the sound. It’s a great way to listen to music or watch television without disturbing other people. Watch the following video to see the fascinating technology in action:
This technology has more potential than just for entertainment purposes. Researchers from Bristol and Sussex Universities say it could be used to help destroy tumors within the human body.
Professor Sriram Subramanian told MailOnline, “Smaller versions of these bricks could be used to focus high-intensity ultrasound to destroy tumors deep within the body. A metamaterial layer could be tailored to fit the body of a patient and tuned to focus the ultrasound waves where they are needed most.”
If the researchers’ medical design comes to fruition it could be a major breakthrough. Although it’s yet to be implemented, it’s certainly something to watch out for.