The sounds a modern car makes are deliberate, designed, and a deception: the clicking of the turn signal isn't a mechanical tick-tock; it's an MP3 of a mechanical tick-tock, played back through hidden speakers. The engine's rumble is tuned with active noise-cancelling that mutes the tones that jangle the ears.
But as you reduce the speed that the drive shaft is rotating, you lower the frequency of the sound it’s making. There comes a lower limit where the engine is making what Gordon calls “groan-y and moan-y” noises which people find unpleasant. The car sounds broken. So cars had to keep the engine’s RPM above a certain level, hurting their fuel efficiency, or risk alienating customers.
GM’s solution was to implement active noise cancellation, the same technique used in some headphones to quiet ambient noise. Microphones in the body listen to the ambient sounds the car and engine are making, and the car plays the opposite of that over the vehicle’s speakers. The sound waves from the engine are cancelled out by the sound from the entertainment system, netting a quieter ride that can be more fuel efficient without being so bothersome.
Some sounds in the car are completely artificial. The telltale clicking of a turn signal was once an artifact of the mechanical process that turned the light on and off. But that mechanism has long since been replaced by an electronic circuit that operates silently. Still, audible feedback is valuable so the car plays an MP3 file of a turn signal over the speakers.
How GM makes a car sound like what a car is supposed to sound like [Tim Maly/Medium]
See sample pages from this book at Wink. Industrial Strength Design: How Brooks Stevens Shaped Your World by Glenn Adamson The MIT Press 2003, 300 pages, 9.5 x 11 x 0.8 inches From $10 Buy a copy on Amazon This excellent book profiles the most famous industrial designer you’ve never heard of: Brooks Stevens. Sure, […]
Shigeki Matsuyama created Narcissism: Dazzle room, a trippy and disorienting painted pattern based on camouflage patterns used in World War I.
Jasmina Tesanovic (previously) and Bruce Sterling did a residency at The Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination at UCSD, working with the students on design fiction and futurism.
The Avantree Powerhouse 4 Port Fast USB Charging Station brings high quality, high power, and still keeps your work space or home looking neat and organized. The best part about this charger is its capacity. It comes packing 4 USB charging sockets and a powerful 4.5A/22.5W output.. Its smartport technology means you don’t have to worry about frying your battery, either—it […]
With this comprehensive course in App & Game Development for iOS and Android, you’ll be able to take full advantage of this career opportunity without committing to going back to school full time. You’ll learn how to build immersive, interactive games and apps from start to finish using Python, C#, Unity, and HTML—some of the most in-demand programming […]
CloudPress is a responsive WordPress theme builder that allows you to create a whole site in less than 30 minutes. CloudPress comes with tools like pre-built headers, content blocks, and footers—all you have to do is pick what you like, and drag and drop. With your subscription, you get access to 13 professionally designed WordPress themes, over 80 […]