2aAA – Developing A New Method for Analyzing Room Acoustics Based on Auralization “How can a room shape your voice?” 

Alaa Algargoosh – alaas@umich.edu

John Granzow– jgranzow@umich.edu

University of Michigan
500 S State St
Ann Arbor, MI 48109


Popular version of paper 2aAA (Developing A New Method for Analyzing Room Acoustics Based on Auralization)

Presented Tuesday morning, 8:00 AM – 11:40 AM, December 03, 2019

178th ASA Meeting, San Diego, CA

A sound may interact with the geometry of a room to produce resonances. These resonances or modes arise when a room’s dimensions reinforce certain frequencies in the sound source. This phenomenon is considered problematic in recording studios or concert halls where it may color the sound in unintended ways. To mitigate this, researchers have developed methods to calculate the modes and diminish their effects.

Alternatively, worship spaces may benefit from such resonances if they provoke a sense of the numinous as the voice accumulates into reinforced frequency bands. Examples of this may extend into pre-history; researchers in archeoacoustics, for example, have found that many of the paintings in ancient caves were located in areas with strong resonances that may have played a role in ritual [1].

In the Hagia Sophia, an architectural marvel that was historically used as a worship space in Turkey, specific frequencies are also amplified by the accumulation of the sound energy interacting with the architectural dimensions and materials. Resonances at low frequencies cause the sound level to increase above the original sound source after the onset [2].

Among the complex factors that give rise to these acoustic qualities in worship spaces, we are interested in examining the contribution of architectural geometries and materials, how they reinforce specific ranges of frequencies and cultural contexts in which such phenomena might be desirable or serve a musical function.

To listen to such cumulative effects of these resonances, we were particularly inspired by Alvin Lucier’s famous piece, I am sitting in a room, where the composer records his voice, plays it back into the room, and re-records the payback iteratively. Over time, Lucier’s process amplifies the frequencies within his voice that correspond to the resonances of the room. By the end of the piece, Lucier’s words have transformed into a prosodic ringing of room modes. A similar approach (although much faster) is used in the testing of live-sound systems; feedback loops are created to identify frequencies that will cause ringing within a given space.

Our research draws from these examples to investigate analogous results within a simulated framework. Accordingly, a room is modeled, an impulse response (IR) that captures the room’s acoustic features is generated, and an auralization is created by shaping the voice recording based on the sound signature of the simulated room, a process called convolution. The output is then used as an input that is convolved again with the same simulated room.

Figure 1: A multiple auralization method combining the room sound signature and the voice recording to create

Adopting this method allows us to amplify and auralize some of the effects that occur at specific frequency ranges in the presence of  sustained sounds. The method overcomes some of the challenges of traditional calculation methods of room modes, which are limited to regular shape rooms and often neglect the surface material and sound source in the analysis.



[1] Lubman, D. (2017). Did Paleolithic cave artists intentionally paint at resonant cave locations? The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 141(5), 3999-4000. doi:10.1121/1.4989168

[2] Pentcheva, B. (2017). Aural Architecture in Byzantium: Music, Acoustics, and Ritual: Taylor & Francis.

3aBA6 – Detecting Kidney Stones Via Doppler Ultrasound – Benjamin Wood

Detecting Kidney Stones Via Doppler Ultrasound


Benjamin Wood – wood.benjamin@mayo.edu
Matthew W. Urban – urban.matthew@mayo.edu
Mayo Clinic Department of Radiology
200 First St SW
Rochester, MN 55905


Popular version of paper 3aBA6
Presented Wednesday morning, December 4th, 2019
178th ASA Meeting, San Diego, CA


Kidney stones affect approximately 12% of the global population as of 2018. Currently, the gold standard method of kidney stone location is computed tomography (CT) as the stones are easily visible because they have a higher Hounsfield unit due to the stone’s dense structure.

Currently, there are no other comparable imaging methods for noninvasively locating kidney stones. CT is limited in its use during kidney stone treatment as it is used sparingly in the initial location of stones and in post treatment to confirm if stones are still present. If stones are found early enough and have the correct composition, they can be treated with simple lifestyle changes like increased water intake and diet restrictions. Most often when symptoms of kidney stones arise, the stones are large enough that they are treated with surgical removal or lithotripsy.

Traditional B-mode ultrasound has historically been insufficient in locating kidney stones as it can be very difficult to distinguish stones from the surrounding tissue. Detection rates for ultrasound have been reported to be much lower than CT. In 1996, an artifact was discovered when using Doppler ultrasound that appears as a sparkling mosaic over the stone that was termed the twinkling artifact (TA). In recent years kidney stones have been tested as a clinical source of TAs. The goal of this present work was to explore how stone size and composition affect TAs and the ability to locate stones with TAs in an excised kidney.


Isolated Stone Study

Initial experiments were performed using a wide range of stone types and sizes from 1.31-55.76 mm2 in a cylindrical water tank with degassed water. Degassed water was used to reduce any introduction of microbubbles on the surface of the stones other than possibly due to ultrasound. Stones were suspended on a gauze bridge to limit TA appearance to the stones. All stones tested showed adequate TA signals regardless of stone composition or size.

Excised Kidney Study

To further test TA appearance on stones, they were individually place in an excised pig kidney and scanned in a large water tank with the same ultrasound probe as shown in Fig. 1. The power of the ultrasound pulses was tested to evaluate the ability to use the maximum power for initial location of the stones before lowering the power to a level that would precisely locate the stone and provide general information on its size. This showed no issues with the initial location of the stones with the TA.

Figure 1: Experimental setup for kidney stone scanning in an excised kidney.

Randomized Placement Study

A total of 47 stones were randomly placed within an excised kidney in a large water bath in groups of 5-8 stones per scan. This setup was used to evaluate the robustness of the method in a more clinical situation. The length of the kidney was scanned to locate as many stones as possible with some stones being placed next to each other purposefully. The process of locating and precisely pinpointing the stone is shown in Fig. 2. All 47 stones were located, including the stones placed in the same plane, with only two false positives.

Figure 2: Real-time Doppler scans of the TA over a calcium oxalate monohydrate that is 14.73 mm2 in cross-sectional area. The max voltage of 50 V was used for initial location and the minimum of 23.4 V was used for precision location.

3pID3 – Hot topics in a warming ocean – How acoustical oceanography can help monitor climate change – Gabriel R. Venegas

Hot topics in a warming ocean – How acoustical oceanography can help monitor climate change
Gabriel R. Venegas – gvenegas@arlut.utexas.edu
Applied Research Laboratories, The University of Texas at Austin
10000 Burnet Rd
Austin, TX 78758
Popular version of paper 3pID3
Presented Wednesday afternoon, December 4, 2019. 1:45pm-2:05pm
178th ASA Meeting, San Diego, CA
Sound is an effective way to study the ocean by non-invasively and quickly surveying large areas, and acoustical oceanography has lent an extra pair of ears to help scientists monitor climate change. This talk will showcase the work of some of the many acoustical oceanographers in the Acoustical Society of America (ASA) that have made valuable contributions to aid in climate change related monitoring, in the hope of inspiring other members to think of new potential acoustic monitoring applications.
The planet is warming and so are its oceans. This warming causes the seawater to expand and large volumes of ice to break off from glaciers and melt in the ocean, ultimately resulting in sea level rise. An acoustic technique called passive acoustic thermometry1,2 takes the noise created by these calving events at the north and south poles to calculate the speed of sound averaged over path lengths as long as 132 km. Temperature can then be inferred from sound speed using a well-established formula relating the two quantities.
As the glaciers melt, they release tiny compressed air bubbles that make loud popping sounds underwater.3 If these popping sounds can be reasonably characterized at one or many glacial bays, at a safe distance, these sounds can be used to estimate the glacial melt rate.4,5
An increase in ocean temperature also causes methane hydrate, a material in ocean sediments that can store large amounts of methane, to turn from solid to greenhouse gas, which bubbles up from the seafloor and is ultimately released into the atmosphere. The sound of these bubbles has also been exploited to estimate the volume of methane released from hydrates and seeps.6–8
Global CO2 concentrations are higher than they have been over the last 800,000.9 A quarter of this gas is absorbed into the ocean and has caused the what is thought to be the fastest increase in ocean acidity in the last 60 million years.10 An increase in ocean temperature, actually decreases the ocean’s capacity to store CO2, causing it to be released back into the atmosphere. The relationship between ocean acidity and the absorption of sound is well understood. A passive acoustic technique using the sound of wind over the water is being investigated to estimate the absorption and thus ocean acidity.11
Ocean acidity also causes damage to many coastal ecosystems including valuable “blue carbon” stores such as mangroves, salt marshes, and seagrasses, which store 50% of the ocean’s organic carbon.12 The destruction of these carbon stores can also release CO2 back into the atmosphere. An ultrasonic sensor that will improve organic carbon estimates in these ecosystems is currently under development.13 These climate-altering feedback loops can cause rapid and catastrophic consequences for future generations, and should be the responsibility of all scientists, elected officials, and the general public, alike.
1K. F. Woolfe, S. Lani, K. G. Sabra, and W. A. Kuperman, “Monitoring deep-ocean temperatures using acoustic ambient noise,” Geophys. Res. Lett. 42, 2878-2884 (2015); https://doi.org/10.1002/2015GL063438
2K. G. Sabra, B. Cornuelle, W. A. Kuperman, “Sensing deep-ocean temperatures,” Physics Today 69, 32-38 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1063/PT.3.3080.
3R. J. Urick, “The noise of melting icebergs,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 50, 337-341, (1971); https://doi.org/10.1121/1.1912637
4E. C. Pettit, K. M. Lee, J. P. Brann, J. A. Nystuen, P. S. Wilson, S. O’Neel, “Unusually loud ambient noise in tidewater glacier fjords: A signal of ice melt,” Geophys. Res. Ltt. 42, 2309-2316 (2015); https://doi.org/10.1002/2014GL062950
5O. Glowacki, G. B. Deane, and M. Moskalik, “The intensity, directionality, and statistics of underwater noise from melting icebergs,” Geophys. Res. Ltt., 45, 4105–4113 (2018); https://doi.org/10.1029/2018GL077632
6C. A. Green, P. S. Wilson, “Laboratory investigation of a passive acoustic method for measurement of underwater gas seep ebullition,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 131, EL61 (2012); https://doi.org/10.1121/1.3670590
7T. G. Leighton and P. R. White, “Quantification of undersea gas leaks from carbon capture and storage facilities, from pipelines and from methane seeps, by their acoustic emissions,” Proc. R. Soc. A 468, 485-510 (2012); https://doi.org/10.1098/rspa.2011.0221
8T. C. Weber, L. Mayer, K. Jerram, J. Beaudoin, Y. Rzhanov, D. Lovalvo, “Acoustic estimates of methane gas flux from the seabed in a 6000 km2 region in the Northern Gulf of Mexico,” Geochem. Geophys. Geosys. 15, 1911-1925 (2014); https://doi.org/10.1002/2014GC005271j
9D. Lüthi, M. Le Floch, B. Bereiter, T. Blunier, J.-M. Barnola, U. Siegenthaler, D. Raynaud, J. Jouzel, H. Fischer, K. Kawamura, and T. F. Stocker, “High-resolution carbon dioxide concentration record 650,000–800,000 years before present,” Nature 453, 379-382 (2008); https://doi.org/10.1038/nature06949
10C. Turley and J.-P. Gattuso, “Future biological and ecosystem impacts of ocean acidification and their socioeconomic-policy implications,” Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain. 4, 278-286 (2012); https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cosust.2012.05.007
11D. R. Barclay and M. J. Buckingham, “A passive acoustic measurement of ocean acidity (A),” Conference & Exhibition Series on Underwater Acoustics, 5, 941 (2019).
12J. Howard, S. Hoyt, K. Isensee, E. Pidgeon, M. Telszewski (eds.). Coastal Blue Carbon: Methods for assessing carbon stocks and emissions factors in mangroves, tidal salt marshes, and seagrass meadows. Conservation International, Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO, International Union for Conservation of Nature. Arlington, Virginia, USA. (2014).
13G. R. Venegas, A. F. Rahman, K. M. Lee, M. S. Ballard, P. S. Wilson, “Toward the Ultrasonic Sensing of Organic Carbon in Seagrass‐Bearing Sediments,” Geophys. Res. Ltt. 46, 5968-5977 (2019); https://doi.org/10.1029/2019GL082745

4pPPa6 – Benefits of a Smartphone as a Remote Microphone System – Dr. Linda Thibodeau

​Benefits of a Smartphone as a Remote Microphone System

Dr. Linda Thibodeau, thib@utdallas.edu

The University of Texas at Dallas

Dr. Issa Panahi

Popular version of paper 4pPPa6
Presented Thursday afternoon, December 5, 2019
178th ASA Meeting, San Diego, CA

A common problem reported by persons with hearing loss is reduced ability to hear speech in noisy environments. Despite sophisticated microphone and noise reduction technology in personal amplification devices to address this challenge, speech perception remains compromised by factors such as distance from the talker and reverberation. Remote microphone (RM) systems have been shown to reduce the challenges hearing aid users face with communicating in noisy environments. The RMs worn by the speaker can stream their voice wirelessly to the users’ hearing aids which results in a significant improvement in the signal-to-noise ratio and make it easier to hear and understand speech.

Given that the additional cost of a RM may not be feasible for some individuals, the possible use of applications on a smartphone has been explored. In the past five years, it has become increasingly common for hearing aids to connect wireless to smartphones. In fact, one desirable feature of the connection to the Apple iPhone has been an application called ‘Live Listen’ (LL). This application allows the iPhone to be used as an RM with made for iPhone hearing aids.

The Statistical Signal Processing Research Laboratory at The University of Texas at Dallas has developed an application for the iPhone that is also designed to be used as an RM. The application, called SHARP, has been tested with persons with normal and impaired hearing and with several types of hearing aids in the Hearing Health Laboratory at the University of Texas at Dallas. A study was conducted to compare the benefit of LL and the SHARP application for participants with and without hearing loss on sentence recognition tasks in noise when listening through hearing aids connected to an iPhone. A video summary of the testing protocol is show in the following short video clip.

Both the LL feature and the SHARP app provide a range of benefits in speech recognition in noise from no benefit to 30% depending on the degree of hearing loss and type of aid. The results suggest that persons can improve speech recognition in noise and perhaps increase overall quality of life through the use of applications such as SHARP on the smartphone in conjunction with wirelessly connected hearing aids.

2pSA9  – Acoustic transients from the impact force excitation of beams and wind chimes – Peter Stepanishen

Acoustic transients from the impact force excitation of beams and wind chimes
Peter Stepanishen, steppipr@uri.edu
University of Rhode Island
Department of Ocean Engineering
Narragansett, RI 02871


Popular version of paper 2pSA9
Presented on Tuesday December 3, 2019
178th ASA Meeting, San Diego, CA
The origin of wind chimes dates back to 1100 BC in Eastern and Southern Asia where the chimes were intended to ward off evil spirits and attract benevolent spirits. Modern wind chimes typically consist of 4 to 8 aluminum tubes with varying lengths and associated resonant frequencies corresponding to a specific musical scale. In addition the wind chimes also include a wind catcher and associated wind clapper to impact the chimes as illustrated in Figure 1 below:
The present paper addresses  the underlying physics of wind chimes from the viewpoint of a structural acoustician.  The impact excitation and vibration of the structure is  addressed including the effects of the surrounding air on the vibration characteristics of the wind chime which is modeled as a sum of cylindrical pipes or beams. The directional characteristics of the transient acoustic field are then addressed.
The dominant sound producing features for each cylindrical pipe/beam are simply described as a sum of  temporally decaying modal beam vibrations with different resonant frequencies which are inversely related to the square of the length of the pipe. A simple illustration of the predominant sound producing lowest frequency modal vibration is  illustrated in the accompanying video:
The video simply illustrates the lowest modal vibration of a free free beam which is presented as a simple model of a cylindrical wind chime vis-à-vis a cylindrical shell model.  The ends of the beam/pipe undergo the maximum transverse deflection and vibration whereas two nodal points with zero deflection are also apparent for the fundamental modal vibration.  In contrast to stringed musical instruments, the higher order modal vibrations are associated with a nonharmonic series of resonant frequencies with an increasing number of nodal points as the modal number increases. Experimental results confirm the validity and usefulness of the cylindrical beam model of the wind chime pipes.
Acoustic transient radiation from a vibrating chime is addressed in the paper using a space-time superposition of ring sources along the axis of the chime. The ring sources are shown to result in a space-time varying force on the air in contact with the chime.  Furthermore, the force is simply related to the previously noted sum of  temporally decaying modal beam vibrations. The directional properties of the acoustic field are discussed and it is shown that the field exhibits nulls in the directions along and perpendicular to the axis of the chime.

2aSA9 – Acoustic black holes in airfoils – Kaushik Sampath

Title: “Acoustic black holes in airfoils”
NRC Postdoctoral Fellow, Acoustics Division, Code 7165,
U S Naval Research Laboratory
4555 Overlook Ave SW,
Washington, DC 20375
Caleb F. Sieck – caleb.sieck@nrl.navy.mil
Matthew D. Guild – matthew.guild@nrl.navy.mil
Charles A. Rohde – charles.rohde@nrl.navy.mil
Acoustics Division, Code 7165,
U S Naval Research Laboratory
4555 Overlook Ave SW,
Washington, DC 20375
Popular version of paper 2aSA9 – “Incorporating acoustic black holes in hydrofoils”
Presented at 11.30 am on December 3, 2019
178th ASA Meeting, San Diego, California.
Most of us who have flown in an airplane can recall how bumpy it gets when there is ‘turbulence’. It is scary to watch wings bend the way they do, even though they are designed to withstand such bumps. However, as one can imagine, these vibrations are not desirable and affect the aircraft’s longevity and performance. When we slice an aircraft wing somewhere in between (as highlighted in the sketch below), we find that it has a unique shape, called an ‘airfoil’. This is the shape that makes the plane fly, and also, as a result, bears the brunt of turbulent air and those vibrations.
In 1988, Mironov pointed out that vibrations that strike on one end of a beam may never make it through if the other end is tapered gradually enough all the way down to a ‘zero thickness’. In other words, those vibrations get trapped or absorbed inside forever – also known as the ‘acoustic black hole’ effect. In reality, since it isn’t possible to make an edge have zero thickness, scientists have figured out that sticking some damping material near the edge (similar to foam or rubber on furniture feet) works almost as well.
In this study, we explore a way this effect could help reduce those airfoil vibrations. For the airplane, only the shape on the outside of the airfoil matters, not the inside. We take advantage of this fact and show that it is possible to design an airfoil with these black holes inside, without changing either the outside shape or the total weight.
Shown below are three of the designs that we tested. We fix the mass of the structure and damping that we use, and redistribute them between the three cases. The first case has uniformly spread structure and damping, to represent a ‘standard’ design. We’re basically trying to improve on this. The second case has a single black hole inside along with appropriate damping, while the third case has three.
We use some of the latest in 3d printing technology to create these complex designs. For testing them, we vibrate all three airfoils on their front edge in the same way and measure how vibrations move through the airfoil length all the way to the back edge. Shown below are the vibration levels that we measured at the rear edge over three frequency ranges. Note, lower the vibration, the better.
When compared with the uniform case, the sample with one black hole does 10-15% in the low and mid frequency ranges, and ~30% better in the high frequency range. The three-black hole case does almost similar (~1% worse in fact) for the low frequency range, but performs 50-65% better for higher frequencies. These results are promising and motivate us to expand our research in this direction.
Work sponsored by the Office of Naval Research.