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An ‘acoustic cloak’ is a surface with the capacity to refract sound in a way which creates precise acoustic shadows (in terms of shape and frequency). The surface of the acoustic cloak consists of a series of ‘chambers’ which are each ‘tuned’ to refract sound waves of specific frequencies/wavelengths, in the case of the circular surface (pictured) the surface structure:

“is an array of cavities that are connected by channels. The sound is going to propagate inside those channels, and the cavities are designed to slow the waves down… As you go further inside the rings, sound waves gain faster and faster speed.” [source]

Another quote which I find particularly exciting is:

“Our focus is not about dampening noise, but to guide sound waves around structures” [source]

This technology is currently being used for military, medical and soundproofing applications, but I imagine that by discovering this method for manipulating sound waves in such a precise manner and at such a small scale, there is scope for ‘playing’ with this technology on a much larger scale… Exploring the potential to create acoustically augmented spaces, much in the same way that I have started to research in my masters project this year!!! And would it be possible to do the same/similar things with light?… I’m also really excited that this hi-tech surface full of ‘cavities’ shares a similar principle to that of the WAFFLE – (but obviously on a much smaller scale)… It is apparently possible to use this technology to focus sound into a “into a sub-millimeter-sized area” but what if it were scaled up in the opposite direction to a habitable, architectural scale? How could this ‘surface’ be used to create or augment an acoustic experience and what might this experience be? How could such a thing be fabricated at a different scale? These are all questions I feel I gained some answers to in the last project, but perhaps some are really worth interrogating much much further………….


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