The Story, (sh*t…)
Behind a noise-cancelling panel made from Duplo’s.
Halfway through the 6 week CF, no bricks in sight what so ever, one person comments that what about the story? (on LinkedIn)
The story, I think. Shit. It’s in my head. Only.
My story is not up there on the front-line… where it ought to be.
The revelation feels like being in a battle with sword and armor, the full Monty, however – without a logo on your shield. No story.
Actually, my long story is found in my earlier writing. (Which condensed: resigned from a well paid – and most interesting work – to save family /relationship.)
But what about the link behind the idea to build an acoustic panel from Duplo bricks?
Let’s start in Poland. A studio making high-end hifi-equipment. The studio test their equipment with a studio loudspeaker system, in an room that is about to be acoustically corrected. To manage reverberation – the term for long-ringing echo.
Well, in the studio-world the definition of long ringing echo is measured in tenths of a second. It is not the grand canyon type of Die hard echo we speak about here. Not your name coming back 10 Times during 5 seconds.
(picture of studio coming)
On the floor of the studio is a wooden structure, about 2m long, 1 m wide and 20cm high. Full of some kind of square sticks of various heights, all with the same flat top. I have no idea what I am looking at.
Next thing I know, I spent the next 3 months studying the math behind these type of panels, which have been used in recording studios since the 60’s.
A bit later I learned how to simulate these in 3D, so as to visualize these – before building them. But back to story.
We talk about fully working, sound-dampening panels, that are designed to perform within a planned frequency range.
Here a bit about how these work:
Simplified, the length of a tower (=depth of a well) equals a frequency, a tone. A variation of tower heights equals a variety of tones. Just as in a bottle, where the tone depends on the water level inside. A reversed process of resonance.
The longer the tower, the lower the low end of the bass.
The square face of the towers, the width of a tower, sets the top limit of the frequency range being treated.
The smaller the width, the higher the upper frequency limit. (Learn more under ‘technique’)
Having made several test calculations, on towers mentioned before, to then also figure out their relationship on panel sizes, it dawned upon me that the square size of the duplo 2×2 brick is very interesting.
Interesting, Because of :
a) the frequency range it processes
b) the colors, the artistic /visual part
c) bringing playfulness into engineering
The material works sufficiently well. A hard surface, that doesn’t resonate with soundwaves. And operating within a reasonable frequency range, without growing too large.
Studying other web pages about calculations on these sort of panels, there were a few graphical simulation-builds of lego. But never of Duplo. That was definitely one of the early nudge’s towards utilizing Duplo’s.
The rainbow colors. A splash of colors. In a planned symmetry. Need I say more?
Myself coming from a ‘dry’ engineering background; this panel would bring a lot of playfulness of the kids world into math and physics. In these two subjects of education, there’s a lot of interesting things going on with this kind of panel.
Could I possibly spark some inspiration in school-tired kids? The use of prime roots, Helmholtz and his spheres, making tones when air is blown across or towards the ‘bottle’ opening?
I sure want to give back to the society! To contribute with something.
About the author.
I wish I knew about these things when I was 10… for sure, the most inspirational teachers I had at age 16 was in math and physics. They sure tried and invested their own time in us students.
I played with lego when I was small. The technical lego’s. I can’t remember having built with Duplo’s until after my son was born (now 8 years). About Lego and Duplo all I can say, one is never too old. It certainly is a generation-bridging play.
At home, we play more with Duplo’s than Lego’s.