(Screenshot by Michelle Starr/CNET Australia)
Using an array of 2500 flames, a Masters student in Denmark has created a stunning way to visualise sound.
Although we can't see sound — at least not without some help — it's still a physical phenomenon, producing waves of varying pressure in the air. There are a number of ways to, but we've never seen any quite like this.
Sune Nielsen, a Masters student in physics and member of the Physics Show at Aarhus University, Denmark, has created what he calls the Pyro Board — an audio wave visualiser that uses flames to show the varying frequencies of sound.
It operates on the same principle as a Rubens' Tube. This is a tube of metal with a series of holes drilled along one side. Gas is fed into the tube at a controlled rate — much like a Bunsen burner — and the holes are lit, creating a series of flames. When you play a constant audio frequency through the tube, it creates a standing wave, which is replicated by the flames as fed by the air in the tube.
Now imagine a flat board drilled with 2500 holes — 50 per side — along the same principle. This is Nielsen's Pyro Board. When sound is fed into the box, the flames react, creating a stunning pyrotechnic display.
We don't recommend that you try this one at home, but it sure is tempting. The music starts at about 3:38 in the video below, and you can see more videos on the Physics Show YouTube page.