The Acoustic Lives of Whales, Self-Powered Sensors for Nuclear Reactors, the Acoustical Detection of Breast Cancer, Brain Bleeds, and Deep-Sea Oil Leaks, and More

Lay-language papers describing breakthroughs to be presented at upcoming Acoustical Society Meeting in Providence, Rhode Island are now available online

Article ID: 617347

Released: 2-May-2014 2:00 PM EDT

Source Newsroom: Acoustical Society of America (ASA)

Newswise — WASHINGTON, D.C., May 2, 2014 -- Bygone soundscapes, sound waves for evaluating injuries and diagnosing disease, and the acoustic lives of whales, donkeys and rhinos are just some of the highlights from the lay-language versions of papers to be presented at the 167th meeting of the Acoustical Society of America (ASA), held May 5-9 in Providence, Rhode Island.

These summaries are posted online in the ASA’s Worldwide Pressroom; many contain sounds, images, and videos. The following are excerpts of selected lay-language papers. The entire collection can be found here:

----------------------------------------Lay-language Paper Highlights---------------------------------------- 1. “Soundscape Auralization” Combines the Art of Recording with Science of Sound2. New High-Definition Technique for Breast Cancer Screening3. Sound Power Levels of the Caxirola and Different Types of Caxixis4. Using Ultrasound to Detect Intracranial Hemorrhage5. Shh! Whale Mother-Calf Pairs Keep Quiet on their Calving Grounds6. Noise Pollution in the 21st Century7. Self-powered Sensors within a Nuclear Reactor8. Active Acoustic Detection of Subsea Oil and Gas Leaks9. School Air Conditioning Noise Impacts Test Scores10. Fluency, Intelligibility, and Acceptability of Non-native Spoken English

1. “Soundscape Auralization” Combines the Art of Recording with Science of Sound“Soundscapes define their environments as strongly as landscapes. When we imagine New York City, the honking of taxis and shouts of street vendors are as much a part of the place as the skyscrapers. Who can think of the ocean without the cries of seagulls and the crashing of waves, or a summer night in the country without wind in the leaves and the chirping of insects? People have been recording soundscapes for decades, but recent advances in auralization (the creation of simulated acoustical spaces) have made computer simulated, but acoustically accurate, soundscapes possible.”SOUND CLIP OF THE AURALIZATION OF JOHN DONNE’S PAUL’S CROSS SERMON AVAILABLE

2. New High-Definition Technique for Breast Cancer Screening“OptoSonics and Canon have partnered to create an entirely new pair of imaging modalities for breast cancer screening. Our approach generates 3D breast images for cancer screening while the patient lies comfortably facedown on a padded exam table. These new imaging techniques are painless and quick, require no breast compression, no exposure to X-ray radiation, and no injection of contrast agents. Furthermore, the tests can be repeated as needed with no danger to the patient.”VIDEO AVAILABLE

3. Sound Power Levels of the Caxirola and Different Types of Caxixis“In 2014, Brazil will host the FIFA World Cup and Brazilian musician Carlinhos Brown created the caxirola as the official music instrument for the event. The caxirola is an adaptation of an old African instrument, the caxixi, used for capoeira plays in Brazil.”

4. Using Ultrasound to Detect Intracranial Hemorrhage“Actor Gary Coleman, actress Natasha Richardson, and famed nutritionist Dr. Robert Atkins all passed away from complications due to traumatic brain injury (TBI). Unfortunately, these are not isolated cases; an estimated 1.7 million people sustain a TBI in the United States every year. We have developed a novel ultrasound device that has the potential to change the narrative, and prevent future stories like these from ending in similar tragedy.”

5. Shh! Whale Mother-Calf Pairs Keep Quiet on their Calving Grounds“This study indicates that listening for sounds may be of limited use for detecting right whale mother-calf pairs on their Southern calving grounds, while sounds may be more valuable as a mitigation tool in more northern habitats.”

6. Noise Pollution in the 21st Century“The 20th century was the noisiest century in the history of the world, resulting in the greatest loss of natural quiet in the history of the world. Will the 21st century set a new record for noise, or begin a new era to bring back quiet?” MAPS OF THE SPREAD OF TRANSPORTATION NOISE AVAILABLE

7. Self-powered Sensors within a Nuclear Reactor“An acoustic heat engine that takes advantage of the harsh operating environment (e.g., high-energy particle fluxes) and high temperatures produced in nuclear reactors and spent-fuel pools can sense and telemeter temperature, gases, and neutron fluxes by generating sound that would radiate to the exterior of the pressure vessel and thus create an inexpensive self-powered sensing system. We plan to test a sensor in the Breazeale Nuclear Reactor, on the Penn State campus.”

8. Active Acoustic Detection of Subsea Oil and Gas Leaks“Using active acoustics means that sound waves are generated and sent through the ocean, and if there is a leak, the backscattering (or echo) from the leak is detected. This backscattering is due to the different acoustic properties of seawater and gas or oil.”

9. School Air Conditioning Noise Impacts Test Scores“We looked for links between building mechanical system type and student achievement: the noisiest types of equipment were found to cool the schools with meaningfully lower test scores.”

10. Fluency, Intelligibility, and Acceptability of Non-native Spoken English“Results of the present study suggest that the importance of speech fluency may outweigh pronunciation accuracy in affecting the intelligibility and acceptability of non-native speech. This finding has a direct impact on second language instruction and assessment, suggesting that it may be more efficient to start by working with learners to improve speaking fluency, rather than focusing scarce teaching resources on immediately trying to improve the accuracy with which specific speech sounds are produced.”


ABOUT THE MEETINGThe 167th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America (ASA) will be held May 5-9, 2014, at the Rhode Island Convention Center and Omni Providence Hotel. It will feature more than 1,100 presentations on sound and its applications in physics, engineering, and medicine.

PRESS REGISTRATIONReporters are invited to attend in person for free. If you are a reporter and would like to attend, contact Jennifer Lauren Lee (, 301-209-3099), who can also help with setting up interviews and obtaining images, sound clips, or background information.

Journalists may also remotely access meeting information with ASA’s World Wide Press Room

WEBCASTA live media webcast featuring this and other newsworthy research presented at the ASA meeting will take place at 3:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday, May 7, 2014. Register and watch at:

USEFUL LINKSASA World Wide Press Room on May 7: http://www.aipwebcasting.comMain meeting website: program:

ABOUT THE ACOUSTICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICAThe 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



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