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Turn Your Head Into Speakers 167

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the that-just-doesn't-seem-safe dept.
Roland Piquepaille writes "A small company based in Iowa has developed products made with a "smart" metal that can turn your walls or your head into speakers. "Last August, Etrema -- an innovative technology firm nestled in the cornfields of Ames, Iowa -- started selling those chrome discs for $1,500 a pair. Called Whispering Windows, they can turn any wall, window, or drab conference table into a speaker." The author tried the technology, and even if she needed a full bottle of Tylenol after usage, said "it's not every day that your head serves as a piece of stereo equipment." This overview tells you more about this "magic" metal, the Terfenol, which is a combination of terbium and dysprosium. The article also says that we can soon expect pirated versions of Terfenol coming from China."
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Turn Your Head Into Speakers

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  • by Adam Jenkins (121697) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @10:36AM (#7370714)
    Now if they can just wire the Discman inside your skull someplace too..
    • by Anonymous Coward
      And now for something completely different... a man with a tape recorder up his nose...
    • This would be the perfect Digital Restrictions Management system for the record labels: pay per listen per person.

    • by Nucleon500 (628631) <tcfelker@example.com> on Sunday November 02, 2003 @12:59PM (#7371263) Homepage
      This is clearly the best technology ever developed, because it can close the analog hole. We can implant two speakers, one for each ear, just inside the skull. Each speaker will have a DAC and a decryptor chip, and a secure digital pathway leading out the ear canal. The pathway will block the ear canal to restrict unauthorized listening. The speakers will connect to a wearable Microsoft Music Center device, which will manage the user's listening rights. Later versions might include a microphone, so that the user can listen to sounds in the environment, after a short delay to ensure they aren't watermarked.

      Although some cyber-terrorists may consider this a drastic method, it's the only way to protect the content industries, which are vital to America's economy, from rampant piracy and theft. Therefore, I'm proposing legislation requiring these devices to be implanted in each child before they turn two. Please join my crusade of consumer protection and write your congressman today!

  • Been done before? (Score:2, Redundant)

    by MImeKillEr (445828)
    SoundBug [thinkgeek.com].

    Ok, so you can't turn your head into a speaker, but you can with practically any smooth surface.

    And for a lot less than $1500.
    • Yeah but it sounds like crap. It's only decent at medium-low volume and has no bass at all.
      • I'd have to see an actual audio reviewer's impression of the quality, rather than a starstruck reporter -- I suspect that the quality is highly overstated. Certainly most any item can be resonated to become a speaker, and a large resonator plate would be such a method, but any item (like marble) has its own tonal qualities that are absolutely bound to seriously colour music - the idea of just slamming it against drywall or desks sounds like it might not yield the results hinted at here.
    • Re:Been done before? (Score:5, Informative)

      by PaintyThePirate (682047) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @10:44AM (#7370747) Homepage
      Acually, the SoundBug uses Terfenol.
      Etrema is now trying to secure a major retailer to sell a $300 portable version called the Presenter, aimed at business travelers, that can plug into laptops and give any room a top-quality sound system for presentations. A toy version, the Soundbug, is available for $20 from Amazon and OfficeDepot.com. Despite the poorer sound quality, teenage boys seem to like it.
    • Re:Been done before? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by area-k (645298)
      From the Article: "Etrema is now trying to secure a major retailer to sell a $300 portable version called the Presenter, aimed at business travelers, that can plug into laptops and give any room a top-quality sound system for presentations. A toy version, the Soundbug, is available for $20 from Amazon and OfficeDepot.com. Despite the poorer sound quality, teenage boys seem to like it" Have you ever heard the SoundBug? It sounds like the cheap plastic it is. I think there is a huge market for the ability
      • by blincoln (592401)
        I think there is a huge market for the ability to turn various items into a quality audio transmitter.

        The problem is mostly with the concept of using things like walls and desks as speakers. The material they're made out of just isn't designed for it, and if you're like most people and have pictures hung on your walls and office supplies in your desk drawers or whatnot it's going to add even more distortion.

        It sounds like a better use for this metal would be making really high-quality speaker cones and "
    • Ok, so you can't turn your head into a speaker, but you can with practically any smooth surface.

      Anything smooth? It might explain the name of this subwoofer [music-town.de].
    • I just wonder why is this post marked: Interesting, when it is supposed to be Redundant? After all, sound bug is Etrema product. [etrema-usa.com]

      Maybe the problem is that the moderators also do not read the f. articles. There should be a system in place where the moderators are freaking forced to read the articles before they are allowed to moderate!

    • Hell, these ain't new. I modded my Mazda Rx-4 (yep, 4) in the 70's by turning the car roof into a speaker with a piezo transducer. You could get them at the old Heathkit stores.

      Problem then, and probably now, is though they were good at reproducing high frequency, the bass notes weren't so great. You still needed a big old fashioned bass driver if you wanted chest thumping bass.

    • Actually you can turn your head into a speaker with a soundbug. I have a soundbug....I tried it (:
    • You hit the nail on the head my good friend. These devices are called "surface transducers" and they've been around as long as anyone can remember, although the application of this metal does seem new.

      The reason we haven't been turning windows into speakers has nothing to do with the lack of a flexible alloy, its because windows SUCK as speakers. A good speaker needs to be strong *and* have a wide range of movement. Glass, and other surfaces hardly move at all and thus can really only reproduce high f

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 02, 2003 @10:39AM (#7370727)
    ...no wonder the voices in my head sound like the Rolling Stones.

    Now if they would only quit playing "Sympathy for the Devil".

    -mark
  • and this is different from what they sell on thinkgeek how?
    • Re:thinkgeek? (Score:2, Informative)

      by Aneurysm (680045)
      It says in the article, that the Soundbug is the "toy version" of the product. Cheap, but not great sound quality.
  • And to think, at first I thought the headline was referring to toilets.. now THAT would be cool!
  • by DaneelGiskard (222145) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @10:43AM (#7370743) Homepage
    I wonder...will god nullify their patent because of prior art? ;-)
  • This product was already out in a device called SoundBug. [com.com] back in 2002.

    I seem to recall that SoundBug had poor sound quality because most surfaces and structures have strange acoustic response patterns. But I'm sure that with a bit of clever processing (a microphone and a bit of FFT magic), one could estimate the transfer function of the speaker surface, create a inverse filter that corrects for its properties, and then apply the filter to the any sound for better output.
  • by vcjim (602423)
    I hear voices already. Who needs speakers? NO! They're coming!
  • Matrix... (Score:5, Funny)

    by DaneelGiskard (222145) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @10:47AM (#7370754) Homepage
    If Mr. Anderson would have had that in Matrix, he could have really pissed of that agent in that questioning scene...

    Agent: "What good is a phone call...if you're unable to speak!"

    Neo turns on his head speakers

    Neo: "Wadda say?" ;-)
    • Uhm, how exactly would he speak? He still doesn't have a mouth... throwing a pair of headphones on him wouldn't have helped any... why would this device do any good?
  • Soundbug (Score:1, Redundant)

    by dimension6 (558538)
    How does compare to the much cheaper Soundbug?
  • my head is already a bunch of speakers....at least a bunch of ppl speaking...but thats kinda teh same thing..

    xao
  • by WindBourne (631190)
    The article also says that we can soon expect pirated versions of Terfenol coming from China.

    In spite of possibly losing their company due to running an insecure OS, they continue it. Though they did change the web server, but stay on the same OS. I do admire their tenacity and loyality.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    when you can listen to music that's in your mind here [theonion.com]

    now all we need is RIAA serving discovery documents for pieces of your brain....
  • In other news the journal "Nature" has an article on a research team that has used nano devices in the bloodstream that syncronizes cell membrane oscillations, creating an immersed full body sensation of any sound you chose to input into the system. Dolby Corpus 10000.1 anybody ?
  • Sound Cancel? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Davak (526912) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @10:57AM (#7370782) Homepage
    One wealthy businessman handed Etrema $1.5 million to stop the slight vibrations on his yacht when he hit top speeds. Terfenol did the trick, allowing him to dine at sea without having his meal shimmy off the plate. [And] a local church hired the firm to build a special pew so that a deaf person could hear the service.

    This interests me more than the original article. How does a speaker-like material stop vibrations? Sure sound is a vibration... but to cancel out another sound/vibration it would have play the inverse sound at exactly the same time to cancel it out.

    I'm assume the pew above just converted the sounds to either physical vibrations which the person could feel... or just adjusted the frequency to something that could be better heard/perceived.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      they probably tightened a few screws then charged mrStupid 1.5mill
    • Exactly, and this should work just like the active noise-canceling technology available in aviation headsets, as well as quite a few consumer-level headphones.

      Here's a doc which seems to have a little more than one might ever want to know about the technology:

      http://www.actel.com/documents/s06_07.pdf [actel.com]

      I've never had the opportunity to try a pair, but if you ask me, they should work on a pair that's effective with human voices and sell them as spouse-coping mechanisms implemented in the form of in-ear hea

    • Vibrations are simply waves...If you have two waves if the right frequency/amplitude you can cause destructive interference, i.e., cause them to cancel.
      • Vibrations are simply waves...If you have two waves if the right frequency/amplitude you can cause destructive interference, i.e., cause them to cancel.

        Right. And at the very same time you're getting two waves to interfere destructively, 1/2 wavelength away, the same two waves are CONSTRUCTIVELY interfering. I.e. the sound is twice as loud.

        With sound waves (depending on freq), that's usually a few inches or feet away. So, yes, you could theoretically cancel sound waves on a boat, but you'd better be a
    • by Anonymous Coward
      There's a discussion about how mechanical changes in the material (Terfenol-D) induce magnetic changes, which can then induce current. They mention that the same properties of the material that allow for electromagnetic-to-mechanical modulation (producing speakers) can be reversed, to allow for mechanical-to-electrical modulation (producing sensors). Thus, just as this technology can produce speakers, it can also produce sensors as well.

      So my guess is (although I am totally not an engineer or physicist of
    • I think it would be relatively simple, just apply a little logic.

      Have microphones placed in various spots arround the boat.

      Use a phase reversal (a function built into all high end sound consoles) and play the new sound through the Terfenol.

      The tricky part would be selecting the right amplitude and putting these systems in the right places arround the boat.
    • This isn't active noise cancellation, but active vibrational damping. Similar, but not the same. Usually, you're damping out lower frequency vibrations in structures, using multiple vibration inducers and a large pile of accelerometers which measure the magnitude of the unwanted vibrations all over the structure. These are tied together through a computer doing some matrix processing on the accelerometer inputs to generate outputs used by the inducers to create their own movements, which then counter the
  • anti-sound (Score:4, Interesting)

    by cyber_rigger (527103) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @10:59AM (#7370787) Homepage Journal
    Wire this up to create a "noise canceling" device and you might have something.
    • Wire this up to create a "noise canceling" device and you might have something.

      Great idea! If they enhance the low spectrum, broaden the dynamic range and turn up the volume really really hard, it could even replace helmets and airbags...
    • RTFA?? They did already. Some guy paid $1.5Mill to cancel vibrations on his Yacht:

      One wealthy businessman handed Etrema $1.5 million to stop the slight vibrations on his yacht when he hit top speeds. Terfenol did the trick, allowing him to dine at sea without having his meal shimmy off the plate.

      This is probably the least of this metal's capability. I foresee many things being made that utilize this stuff. The article mentions other things such as fuel injectors, tooth phone, church pew for deaf people,

  • inflatable speakers they have in sharper image. Bought them, blew them up, and made what can be described as headphones. The sound was insane, as were the looks on people's faces who saw me that day in the mall.
  • Old news (Score:1, Informative)

    by AndroidCat (229562)
    People with car stereos have been turning my neighbourhood into secondary speakers for years... (And they keep playing the "Whoompa-whoompa-whoompa!" song over and over.)

    But seriously, the "turn your wall into a speaker" idea seems to pop up every 10-15 years. Let's see if they can get it right this time.

    Does anyone still own a Bone-Fone radio? (Another idea that never quite worked.)

    • Re:Old news (Score:2, Informative)

      by steelframe (590694)
      Absolutely! The first I read of this was in the '60s (Popular Science/Mechanics?). I wanted one to attach to the floor for earth shaking bass, but it seems that low end is the weak point in most of these iterations. I couldn't conceive at the time that all I would have to do was park my car in the living room.
  • It's just an obvious use for magnetostrictive materials developed over decades using your tax dollars. Coming up with the new alloys is impressive, but applying it to audio applications is pretty obvious. Reminds me of the patent I read last week about companies patenting the use of tagatose (new sweetener) in breakfast cereals and beverages. Duh.
    • The innovation here isn't the applications (though the vibration free yacht at top speeds is an admitedly impressive feat), but the process by which the alloy is manufactured. Though they are reluctant to disclose how much or how fast they create the stuff, one could immagine that they've broken it down to a profitable system. I doubt it'd make much news otherwise.

      Anyone know how long Teflon was around before it was economically viable to produce? Now it's on everything from frying pans to submarines.
  • Been done before... (Score:4, Informative)

    by ThogScully (589935) <neilsd@neilschelly.com> on Sunday November 02, 2003 @11:10AM (#7370813) Homepage
    I don't know what particular metals are used in Bass Shakers [aurasound.com], but I don't really care. They aren't Sound Bugs like everyone else has posted a link to and they work exceptionally well to create a speaker out of whatever you screw them into: car chassis, couch, wall, whatever.

    Specifically, they are intended for bass reproduction, but that's the only frequency domain where the material of the cone isn't having a dramatic effect on the sound quality, so I wouldn't necessarily want full range production from whatever random materials I can find.
    -N

  • by back_pages (600753) <back_pagesNO@SPAMcox.net> on Sunday November 02, 2003 @11:15AM (#7370821) Journal
    I was told by my highschool orchestra conductor that he once had a device that looked similar to a small lead apron worn during X-Rays at the dentist's office. It contained oscillators that used your collar bones as the speaker, and though it produced no audible sound, you could "hear" it through the vibrations it introduced to your skeletal system.

    It wasn't that popular. I think he said it was called something like a "Bonophone" or some combination of "bone" and "phone", but Googling for it this morning just comes up with a lot of links to naughty sites. Does anybody know if this really existed and what it was called?

    • Wow! I forgot about that thing. I had one. It was called the Bone Phone. It was a soft cloth covered device, about 18" long, 3" wide and 1" thick. You simply layed it around the back of your neck, with the two ends over your collar bones. The controls were at one end and batteries at the other. It did have speakers, but it didn't vibrate your collar bones... the speakers were positioned above the unit, right under your ears so you could hear it even with the volumn turned down low. This made it hard
    • as others said, it was called the bone phone.
      The bonophone, on the other hand, is a method of using a tree to cause a crashing sound inside your skull.
  • by MemoryAid (675811) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @11:16AM (#7370829)
    The military has transducers used on walls to prevent people from listening in on classified conversations. I've seen them installed in aircraft carrier ready rooms, where flight briefs take place. One can put an ear to the outside of the wall to try to listen, but can only hear the (usually lame) music in the wall.

    This system is not designed as a speaker, per se, but it is audible from near the wall. I have no idea what flavor of unobtanium is used for these, but I suspect they probably cost at least $1500, based on the military's track record.

    • Many years ago I got a bunch of piezo-electric transducers for around 15 cents each. Just a brass disk with a slice of crystal on one side. The open face of the crystal is silver-plated. You carefully solder a fine wire to the centre of the silver and to the edge of the brass. It functions pretty well as a pickup, and moderately well as a speaker.

      To make a speaker out of one (or more), just fix them securely to any flat surface. The bigger and flatter the surface, the better, and better yet would be to

  • china (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Potor (658520) <farker1.gmail@com> on Sunday November 02, 2003 @11:27AM (#7370878) Journal
    But if scientists from China discover how to manufacture Terfenol -- Etrema's Snodgrass says that three Chinese companies have already started making pirated versions -- the metal's still-fragile reputation could be harmed by the cheaper, imported version.
    if china has the metals and the formula, why would their 'pirate' version be inferior to the american version, beyond its not being american? wouldn't market demand dictate the quality of the chinese ternenol? and surely pirated is the wrong word here. they are not bootlegging consumer goods, but manufacturing a material. unless, that is, they use it to make mickey mouse dolls and rolex watches.
    • and surely pirated is the wrong word here.

      not only here, generally IP cannot be pirated. IP is a fact of discovery, not of posession.

    • Dickhead (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by Talisman (39902)
      "if china has the metals and the formula, why would their 'pirate' version be inferior to the american version, beyond its not being american?"

      Where in the article did it indicate it would be inferior? They meant 'cheap' as in inexpensive, not low quality.

      "wouldn't market demand dictate the quality of the chinese ternenol?"

      Ummm... no? Market demand would determine the price. Product quality might sway consumer choice to the (presumably) more expensive American version (having to pay your non-Commie
      • a) the article states that cheaper versions from china might harm the reputation of the material. this implies that the chinese version is inferior.

        b) the market will certainly determine the quality. the quality the market demands will be the quality supplied; price will be in part a function of this.

        c) i am not confused. as posted above, a material is a discovery. it cannot be pirated. i agree that this is not an argument but rather an axiom. i, however, am prepared to defend it.

        cheers, potor

        • I tend to agree. It's a fact of life that the Chinese are always "stealing" good ideas of other countries and figuring out how to turn them into profit for themselves, by manufacturing comparable products at more attractive prices.

          Just recently, I was looking for some blue LEDs. All of the local stores (including electronics part suppliers in town) wanted prices from $1.75 to $3.50 *each* for them.

          I ended up finding an LED manufacturer out of Hong Kong, advertising on eBay, who was willing to ship me 50
      • Re:Dickhead (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Nucleon500 (628631) <tcfelker@example.com> on Sunday November 02, 2003 @01:11PM (#7371314) Homepage
        The process to make this material is patented, right? If so, wouldn't hacking a network to steal the manufacturing details be superfluous? Couldn't they just look at the patent? The whole point of patents is that you get a temporary monopoly in return for not keeping secrets.

        Granted, making this material would be a violation of US patent law (and Chinese patent law, to the extent it exists), but you're making it sound like the patent has been obfuscated, which shouldn't be.

        • Maybe its a 'double secret patent'

          But seriously, maybe they didn't patent the actual combination of materials but the process involved (if that's possible) or parts thereof. Some trade secrets are protected by secrecy rather than patent and rely on either the difficulty in analysis or the first mover advantage to provide a competitive edge.

          • True, but I don't think that should be the case. Keeping secrets, exactly what patents are supposed to prevent, is bad enough - trade secret law is even uglier.
    • by joto (134244)
      if china has the metals and the formula, why would their 'pirate' version be inferior to the american version, beyond its not being american?

      Yeah, bad choice of words. The only meaningful interpretation of "pirate" here, would be either the manufacturing process, or the application. The application is obvious, the manufacturing method should be patented, like any other chemical process.

  • by timefactor (265504) <timefactor.public@gmail.com> on Sunday November 02, 2003 @11:28AM (#7370880)
    a local church hired the firm to build a special pew so that a deaf person could hear the service

    This is the most intriguing thing about this. Would a deaf person be able to "hear" using the "head-as-speaker" technique?
    • It depends on how deaf they are. It's the same thing with a cochlear implant. If the hairs in the inner ear that sense the vibrations are too damaged it wouldn't work. However, if they can still function but not to well then something like that would be able to help. What I am interested in is how this technology differs from what is currently used in cochlear implants. Would it work better?
    • Depends on the reason they are deaf. There are two kinds of hearing loss, conductive and sensory/neural. Conductive hearing loss is caused by destruction/loss of function of the mechanical portion of the ear - the ear drum (tympanic membrane) and the hearing 'bones' (stapes, incus, malleus). Sensory/neural hearing loss comes from the destruction of the nerve receptors in the cochlea or the auditory nerve itself. This system would help someone hear if they had conductive hearing loss, because it would byp
  • Ok, so they say on their website that they have to focus on the more promising uses of the metal.

    And they come up with a really expensive (5.1 * 7500 = 38250 dollars for a surround set) speaker system first. Which already exists.
  • Theres no such thing as pirating in China.
  • Bone-Fone (Score:2, Informative)

    by kantai (719870)
    Some information about the bone-fone and a picture can be found here: http://pocketcalculatorshow.com/magicalgadget/inde x3.html
  • I remember reading a story on Chinese piracy in a business publication some years back. It talked about how some of this piracy has tacit government support. One official was asked about pirated software, and when the subject of the holographic authenticity logos came up he deadpanned, "that's what our Reflective Materials Institute is for.
  • ...and connect it to to a wireless mike, so I can scare my mother-in-law the hell out of my house!!!

    "Feed me, you sinner"

  • Rare Earth Elements (Score:4, Informative)

    by Detritus (11846) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @11:46AM (#7370936) Homepage
    The Industrial Physicist [aip.org] has an interesting article [aip.org] (PDF file) on rare earth elements that mentions terbium and dysprosium. According to the article, 3.6 kg of dysprosium will set you back about $50,000 US.
  • Terfenol, which is a combination of terbium and dysprosium.

    Now we will have to build harvesters, and tesla coils, and send thousands of dogs to the enemies base...

    -dw
  • Damn! So how do you make your speakers stay put? Hobble the legs, or what?
  • From the article:
    "Barry Mersky, a dentist in Maryland, bought Terfenol in 1995 in hope of creating a "tooth phone," a small device placed on a tooth that allows people to communicate in high-noise environments. Mersky's six-person company, ESComms, based in Bethesda, Md., now receives funding from the Army and Navy, whose interest was piqued after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks showed that firefighters had trouble hearing radio communications inside the World Trade Center. The dentist is hoping to have a w

  • I know you've all seen it!

    You pull up to a stop light and some guy next to you has his stereo so far up and his bass so deep that your very fillings shake inside of your teeth enamel!

    Well, just ONCE, I'd like this guy to turn his head into a speaker and do the same thing to himself that he's been doing to other drivers for years.

    m
  • Let's hope no one starts attacking people in crowds with stick-on spam-radios. I can just see poor souls wandering around helplessly with their heads turned into speakers playing ads. I think I'll stick with something safer like a good ole' flame speaker... I ran across this Flame Speaker Project [couger.com]
  • Wasn't this talked about, like a few years ago or something? I swear I remember an article here, and on ZDnet about this a while ago.

  • IMHO this is just another sad story of a company who is going to sink because they don't understand that customers buy services, not patents. If they were smart, they would advertize the process to the whole world in a way that is unmistakable that they invented it, and they would license it in a way that is almost free - accept that they are not locked out of future innovations of the people who use it.

    Even if that failed, they could do an Ely Whitney strategy, who never made a penny from the cotton gyn,
  • nice (Score:2, Funny)

    by sewagemaster (466124)
    oh great, so now even the unknown old fat ugly lady on the other side of the phonesex line that sounds like a horse can sound like the unknown old fat ugly lady on the other side of the phonesex line that sounds like a hot pr0nstar!
  • Naval Ordinance Lab (Score:4, Informative)

    by gessel (310103) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @02:20PM (#7371682) Homepage
    The ~NOLs are inventions of the Naval Ordinance Lab, curiously located out there in the corn fields; famously NiTiNOL and TerFeNOL, not exactly the the most overwhelmingly original names, they do sound techy.

    The "latest" material, terfenol, exploits the giant magnetostrictive effect, which sounds even more brand new, but it isn't [iastate.edu], having been discovered in the 1840s.

    The high strain versions of this (and the thermally actuated "shape memory alloys") were developed in the 1940s for use in high powered sonar. They are generally used as replacements for voice coils [theproductfinder.com] and for the same reason. If you want to actuate your domestic structure, you can use a big one [beikimco.com] and keep it cool with LN2.

    These materials are far too old to be covered by existing patents, so they're fabricated all over the world. Indeed, chinese manufacturers are in production [txre.net].

    • " But that's not the biggest problem. For while Etrema currently holds a monopoly on the world's smartest metal, its executives predict that within about seven years competitors will have figured out a way to make Terfenol more cheaply--or worse, to manufacture an even smarter metal. (Etrema's scientists are already hard at work developing Terfenol's successor.)"
    Without any fear of competitors, the rate of research would slow down. But because there are wolves at the door, the company will be more productive and innovative. And while it might not be this company that ultimately scores the money jackpot, humans in general will likely be better off through the enhanced development speed (speakers aren't the only application - it appears to have important ones as well).

  • But if scientists from China discover how to manufacture Terfenol -- Etrema's Snodgrass says that three Chinese companies have already started making pirated versions -- the metal's still-fragile reputation could be harmed by the cheaper, imported version.

    Heh, yeah, that's the big risk to the American manufacturer---the danger to "the metal's still-fragile reputation". Snodgrass is not at all concerned by the fact that they are about to be drastically undersold by companies with better access to the r

  • ...just let me say that this is just another reason why we're actually a cool state, no matter what stereotypical ideas you might have about us. I mean, who else would do this sort of thing if not some nuts from the heartland?

    Now, on to making our heads into bongs...
  • than ever before. At least at present the skull vibration is a peripheral aspect of the sound perception. The skull actually protects the soft tissue freom the external vibrations.

    Now we are going to make the skull the primary source of some of this sound and directly hit the brain.

    Why do we think this is a good idea. I would be concerned about a punch-drunk generation degenerating into parkinsons dementia before they are 30 and on autopsy having brains that look like they had been in way too many figh

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