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The Sound of Safety?

michael posted more than 13 years ago | from the chusssh-chusssh-chusssh dept.

Technology 271

Nostrada writes: "Gone are the days of mobile phones ringing with the latest and greatest melodies? Following this article, "A new sound that could revolutionise mobile telephones and safety alarms because it is less intrusive yet easy to pinpoint is being ordered worldwide after being developed by a British scientist." Anyone got some URLs for samples?"

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You kidding me? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2192820)

Is anyone else taking the "virtually impossible not to turn towards the sound" argument with a few grains of salt?

Even if it is true, what happens when everyone in a crowded area has a cellphone with this ring? I mean, if you're as compelled to look in the direction of the sound as this article makes it seem, you'll get whiplash from your head bouncing around to look at different phones going off.

If it's too widely used, I don't see how we aren't just going to filter this effect out subconsciously, even if it's all that the article cracks it up to be.

psychologic of sound/acoustics (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2192821)

It is well known that the ear has difficulty resolving the directional source and distance of pure-tone sounds, such as typical beeps, sirens, alarms, etc. This is mainly the point of developing the new sound... unfortunately the author of the artical knows nothing about psycho-acoustics.

The 'cshuush' shound would be better in this regard for alarms because you can tell exactly which direction its coming from, due to the fact that is has a broader spectrum.

The end of the world is coming (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2192822)

I hate to sound apocalyptic, but does anyone else get the impression that the modern economic system is on the verge of collapse?

In the old days, people used to earn a living doing things like building cars, or making clothes, or growing and harvesting food -- i.e., they would be creating physical objects or performing useful services and selling them to people.

But the problem was that you could only make a limited amount of money doing that. After all, a person's time and energy are limited: each individual can only make a few clothes, build a few cars, or harvest a small amount of food. Sure, you can make a decent living doing those things, but you can never get really filthy rich.

So people came up with a better way of getting filthy rich. Instead of selling a few tangible things to a small number of people, they would generate something intangible (which can be mass-produced with little or no effort), and sell that to millions of people. Sure, maybe it's too small to generate a large profit for each unit, but since you can easily sell millions of the little thingys with no expenditure of energy on your part, you can get rich pretty quickly.

So what are the consequences of this:

  • Instead of studying for a real career, our kids are too busy fantasizing about being movie stars, athletes or rock musicians, hoping to get rich by selling millions of CD's and collecting a few pennies off each one. (All these fantasies enthusiastically encouraged by the RIAA, of course.)
  • We have people patenting little snippets of software algorithms in the hope of getting a few percent royalties every time the algorithm is included in a program.
  • And now some enterprising individual is hoping to make a fortune selling people a sound, for crying out loud.

And what's happened to the old-fashioned practice of actually making physical objects and selling them to people? We no longer do this anymore, at least not in industrialized countries. Our clothes are made in third-world sweat shops. The manufacture of automobiles is also gradually migrating to third-world countries (part by part, so nobody really notices). We used to have family farms, but these are now run by big corporations who import migrant labor when the time comes to actually harvest the crops.

So this is the 21st century. In industrialized countries, we are completely dependent on third world labor to provide us with the necessities of life, while we scheme to get rich marketing intangible ideas, hoping each will be "the next big thing". How long can this situation last? If the third world stays poor, how long will it be before they become resentful of providing everything for us while we play around making ring tones?

Worse -- if the third world develops, won't they eventually get sick of making Nikes and start also trying to get rich selling ring tones? If so, then this is the future: the entire world, naked, stranded, and starving, all hopelessly trying to survive marketing ring tones to one another.

Re:Pink Noise. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2192823)

White noise is spectrally balanced (all frequencies have the same energy level). Pink noise is balanced to the ear. Human hearing is not linear across the spectrum. Certain frequencies require more energy to be perceived at the same "loudness" as others.

Uh oh. (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2192829)

"It initiates a reaction that makes you instantly turn towards that sound"

This sound will also be heard before TV commercials, radio commercials, it will replace the windows startup sound, and children will learn to make it when they want something or want to annoy you. Not a nice thing to grace the earth with.

Re:These sirens are supposed to be good (1)

Malc (1751) | more than 13 years ago | (#2192833)

"I heard them talking about this" ... "a year ago."

That might have been 6 mos ago... I can't remember now that I think about it.

These sirens are supposed to be good (3)

Malc (1751) | more than 13 years ago | (#2192834)

I heard them talking about this on CBC (Canadian national radio) a year ago. They were talking about the practical uses on ambulances and other emergency vehicles. Apparently tests in the UK had shown that emergency vehicles equiped with one of these new sirens could get to their destination faster (people knew where the sound was coming from and were better at getting out the way), and the number of secondary accidents was reduced (people crashing whilst looking for the emergency vehicle, etc).

Ironicaly, for safety reasons introduction in to Canada (and the US???) will be delayed as there are strict guidelines and tests to meet for new sirens.

Re:Ya Ok (2)

jsproul (4589) | more than 13 years ago | (#2192839)

I saw a bit on some police camera show on TLC about a similar sound being tested by some police force in Britain. Apparently the sound is easier for people to locate, allowing drivers to get out of the way of emergency services vehicles safely. Get the ambulance, fire truck, etc. to the scene faster, lives are bound to be saved. You're also less likely to have accidents as people panic from the police car pulling up behind them "without warning" (because they couldn't tell where it was and so weren't expecting it).

The show was first run months ago, but it was just re-run lately. Same sound? Can't tell. ;-) But the same idea - broadband white noise in whooshing patterns in between siren bursts.

Re:chusssh-chusssh-chusssh, huh? (1)

juuri (7678) | more than 13 years ago | (#2192848)

It is white noise that is being used in this case.

More Information Regarding The Sound (5)

waldoj (8229) | more than 13 years ago | (#2192852)

This British government site [sbs.gov.uk] has some interesting information regarding pinpointable sound.
In principle, the alarm has to alert people and signal the direction of travel. The Localizer fulfils both these criteria. According to Deborah, 'There is only one type of sound that our brains can pinpoint, called 'white noise', like running water, the cracking of a twig or rustle of leaves. This is the sort of sound used since ancient times to pinpoint sound and avoid being eaten by prey.' So the Localizer siren uses short pulses of white noise, like radio static.
The article is about a University of Leeds audiologist that got a "Smart award" for developing a siren that's more easily pinpointed.

A sidenote. I read something about a year ago, but I just can't recall where. (I'll keep Googling, but I think I read it in Scientific American or something.) A fire department tested out one of these new sirens, and they worked splendidly in all the important ways...but one. Traffic could easily determine where the fire engine was coming from, the siren was easily heard, and that was all nice. The problem was that firemen have learned to associate the sound of the engine with excitement. So they arrived at fires unprepared, psychologically, and without the gusto to fight the fire. Weird, huh?


"They told us, all they wanted, was a sound..." (1)

kenh (9056) | more than 13 years ago | (#2192855)

This was a Kate Bush song *years ago* (sort of)... Experiment IV. "They told us, all they wanted, was sound that could kill some one, from a distance..." See http://www.davemcnally.com/lyrics/KateBush/Experim entIV.asp

Re:Baby's Cry (4)

Kris_J (10111) | more than 13 years ago | (#2192857)

If people start making mobile phones that sound like babies crying I am going to have to start carrying around a small mallet.

(And I thought my Nokia singing "Oops, I did it again" every time I get a call was bad enough...)


demo (1)

Aussie (10167) | more than 13 years ago | (#2192858)

The appears to be no demo, according to their demo page [sound-alert.co.uk] you can arrange a preview either at their site or they can come to you.

Getting enough Chussh? (2)

Mr. Flibble (12943) | more than 13 years ago | (#2192862)

"What I have done is simple: I select noises for electronic engineers, which I know the human brain will recognise and interpret within milliseconds. They then convert them into electronic noises, which, according to need, are variations on chusssh-chusssh-chusssh."

Recognize and interpret within milliseconds...

I don't know about the rest of you but "chusssh-chusssh-chusssh" is not a sound I hear often in my daily life.

I know what you are thinking, I must not be getting enough "chusssh" in my life.

Well I am getting enough "chusssh" and when I have "chusssh" it does not sound like "chusssh".

(It sounds much more like pr0n...)

Wow, thats amazing. (1)

geoffeg (15786) | more than 13 years ago | (#2192865)

Ok, so, everyone gets this in their cellphone. The sound is irrestable to look at, so, your in a movie theatre and instead of just ignoring the noise like everyone does now, everyone is forced to look at the source.

This will be both good and bad. Since everyone in the movie theatre will simultaneously look at the person with the phone, the person will be extremely embarrased and run out.

The problem this doesn't solve is that in a large room with many people (think conference or meeting) each time a cell phone goes off, everyone will look at the source of the sound, just like they do now!

If people would just learn how to use the "vibrate" feature they would stop interrupting people and be much happier (if the cell phone is placed in the correct 'location'). :)

Just my OPINION.


Re:Baby's Cry (5)

mlc (16290) | more than 13 years ago | (#2192866)

Couldn't we make these things give a small (or large if you don't like cell phone users) electric shock to their owner? That way we wouldn't need to worry about any noise polution whatsoever.

They have already developed a similar (though somewhat less violent) thing... it's called vibrate mode. I leave my phone on vibrate, and it has the double benefit that:

  • Other people aren't disturbed when someone calls me, and if I'm busy I can totally ignore the call without anyone else knowing.
  • When someone else's phone rings, I know it's not mine, so I don't have to run around checking my phone to see if someone's calling me or not.

// mlc, user 16290

Re:Won't be long (2)

Jerf (17166) | more than 13 years ago | (#2192869)

There was a time when a car alarm going off caused everyone to turn and look, but now they're so commonplace that nobody turns to look at a car when the alarm is going off. If this new noise is going to be used in phones and alarms everywhere, it shouldn't be long before people become desensitized to it as well.

Of course, that's the obvious comment (no offense). But consider: What if you're wrong? Imagine being in Times Square a few years from now, watching the crowd look around like lemmings... *chussh chussh* everyone looks at the Pepsi add *chussh chussh* everyone looks at the CBS add *chussh chussh* everyone looks at the ticker *chussh chussh* everyone looks at the Pepsi add. Repeat as desired.

A scene that fits right into the Matrix.

Anyhow, the humorous image merely underscores my point: While it's virtually doomed to failure in the way you describe, it would be even worse if it actually worked. This thing is violation of Jerf's Law: Never try to do something where the worst case scenario is success.

Re:Won't be long (1)

Twilight1 (17879) | more than 13 years ago | (#2192871)

There was a time when a car alarm going off caused everyone to turn and look, but now they're so commonplace that nobody turns to look at a car when the alarm is going off.

Wrong. I always look. It helps me aim the rock, bottle, or whatever else may be close by before I throw it at the car that is yelling "I really deserve to be keyed right about now!!!"

SBD? LBH? (5)

Mike Schiraldi (18296) | more than 13 years ago | (#2192872)

A new sound ... that is less intrusive yet easy to pinpoint

Cellphones that fart. That's just great.

Can't wait for the patent! (1)

Evro (18923) | more than 13 years ago | (#2192874)

So you're going to need a license to use a sound like "chussh"? Wow, that's awesome. Also, copying this sound would probably fall under the DMCA, so "illegal" uses will get you locked up like your pal Dmitri.

I can already see the slashdot posts: But how can you own a sound? I hereby patent the sounds of 'click' and 'snap'.


Re:chusssh-chusssh-chusssh, huh? (1)

cpeterso (19082) | more than 13 years ago | (#2192875)

The article makes it sound like the chussh-chussh-chussh does something similar to humans. I think this might endanger more lives than it would save.

After watching the video, I did find the chussh-chussh-chussh successful. However, I really wish the article would explain more about WHY it works. They say the used broadbad white noise because they understand "how the brain works". That seems like a cop-out answer.

Re:Uh oh. (2)

Webmonger (24302) | more than 13 years ago | (#2192878)

Actually, they've got a feature in old TV sets that makes this noise when you disconnect the video source. It's called "snow".

Sound sample & interview online (2)

Brento (26177) | more than 13 years ago | (#2192880)

You have to put up with a three minute interview and a horrible site design, but it's here [now.com] , in RealAudio and Windows Media, along with a demonstration in a smoky room. The sound is more like a compressed air can, and I would swear it's being produced by an air compressor.

When they say "impossible to ignore", they're not saying your head instantly turns to it - they're saying that in a smoky room, you can pretty well tell where it's coming from without having to think or concentrate on it. Believe me, my head didn't instantly gravitate toward my laptop speakers when the sound came on.

more here (1)

terpia (28218) | more than 13 years ago | (#2192883)

another link with almost exactly the same amount of vagueness....on the BBC [bbc.co.uk] . For the copy and pasters: http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/sci/tech/newsid_1 454000/1454737.stm

Re:Baby's Cry (2)

Bob Uhl (30977) | more than 13 years ago | (#2192887)

They say a mother can tell exactly what a baby wants by its whine.

Not only the sort of cry it's using. When I was a baby for some reason or another I developed a strong liking for droning--that is, humming a single note for a prolonged period. She could tell where I was and what I was doing my the tone of the note. If the tone changed to `curious,' she knew she might need to go make sure that I wasn't getting into something I shouldn't (like Draino); if it stopped altogether, she knew I was either in trouble or asleep. Fortunately, for a baby `trouble' as often as not means `having to use brain,' as in figuring out how to climb stairs.

Incidentally, as I wrote this I was droning to a rockabilly tune and than Also Sprach Zarathustra. You see, it's a habit I've yet to break...

Company website (4)

p3d0 (42270) | more than 13 years ago | (#2192892)

Here are some more details from the web site for the company that professor Withington et al have started to market this thing:

http://www.soundalert.co.uk/research.htm [soundalert.co.uk]

I still can't find actual audio files, though.

Karma whores needed (2)

brianvan (42539) | more than 13 years ago | (#2192894)

Someone provide a link to the sound. Please.

(from a user sick of his current AOL IM sounds)

that great and all... but (1)

Kenshin (43036) | more than 13 years ago | (#2192895)

What, exactly, does it sound like?
"Chussh! Chussh!" Can be interpreted in many different ways.

It would be nice if they actually put up a sample to listen to...

old news (2)

sometwo (53041) | more than 13 years ago | (#2192902)

I read about this yesterday on the BBC. A much better article [bbc.co.uk] .

Won't be long (3)

Coward, Anonymous (55185) | more than 13 years ago | (#2192903)

Because hearers of the new noise are virtually unable to resist turning to face the direction from which it is coming, banks and shops are evaluating its potential for catching criminals.

There was a time when a car alarm going off caused everyone to turn and look, but now they're so commonplace that nobody turns to look at a car when the alarm is going off. If this new noise is going to be used in phones and alarms everywhere, it shouldn't be long before people become desensitized to it as well.

Re:chusssh-chusssh-chusssh, huh? (2)

glitch! (57276) | more than 13 years ago | (#2192904)

I would have to also wonder about getting so used to the sound that it loses its meaning.

Some time ago, I figured that I didn't need to use bookmarks since I could just commit the page number to memory. And it worked fine (I'm not particularly amnesic...) But after a while, I found it harder and harder to return to my place. Not because I could not remember the page number, but because I remembered ALL OF THEM, and didn't know which was the correct one. In other words, I had exhausted the usefullness of this memory exercise.

I also have to question the conclusion of those "researchers" that decided that your car was safer with the headlights always on. I believe that they based their conclusion on some studies that suggested a connection between cars with headlights on and lower accident rates. AN APPARENT CONNECTION PROVES NOTHING! I have to wonder if the lower accident rate was due to the fact that it was unusual for cars to have their headlights on (during the day), and that other drivers were just paying more attention to THOSE cars...

For all we know, if all cars had their headlights on, the accident rate might return to the same place it was beforehand.

Anyway, I agree with you that certain stimuli may lose their advantage when they are commonly encountered.

Re:How long before we tune this one out? (2)

LS (57954) | more than 13 years ago | (#2192905)

I've lived in New York for 4 months now and I still can't tune out the trucks with oil-tanker fog horns installed. I'm a pacifist, but I just want to choke them when they honk at 4 AM outside my bedroom window! arrghgh

Frogive me, but I can't imagine gridlock in New York with everyone chusssh-chussshing each other.


Mostly hype? (4)

LS (57954) | more than 13 years ago | (#2192906)

This is a perfect example of a mostly hype-driven story. Basically, the headline should really be this: "Directional acoustics applied to alarms". Unless the article is missing something, there is really nothing new here. Directional acoustics [northwestern.edu] have been around for a while, and are used by your sound card drivers for "3D" sound. The video at the article link looks like your typical "Beyond 2000" fluff piece.

Come on Slashdot, isn't there a more interesting technology out there being developed? Like bionics or new genetic engineering or some new materials science???


Re:Getting enough Chussh? (1)

Bilestoad (60385) | more than 13 years ago | (#2192907)

That's not so. When a fat chick in stockings walks by you look, right? It's the sound of thighs rubbing :-)

There's no sound because... (1)

Boogadad (62663) | more than 13 years ago | (#2192908)

I would assume that the reason clips of this sound are so hard to find on the internet is because this isn't your typical sound that computer speakers could create.

The creator of the sound said that it contains a "massive amount of frequencies..." Shouldn't a sound like this be hard to reproduce effectively on computer speakers?

Re:chusssh-chusssh-chusssh, huh? (2)

norton_I (64015) | more than 13 years ago | (#2192909)

I hate to nitpick, but this is important. They say a wide spectrum of frequencies, which does not necessarily denote white noise. The article never mentions white noise.

Every signal can be broken into frequency components, and each component has an amplitude *and* phase (often this is expressed by adding negative and positive frequency components). The importance of these phases cannot be overemphasized. If you "coherently" add components with the same phase, you will get a delta function: a single large crack. If you add them with random phases, you end up with white noise.

It is quite possible that the sound they are talking about is more like a series of short, broadband "chirps" than white noise.

I don't know enough of the physiology of hearing to know what makes things easy or difficult to locate, but I expect the incoherent nature of white noise makes localization more diffcult, not less. A chirp on the other hand, has a very steep rise that makes time-of-arrival measurements relatively easy, and improves localizability.

What, psychologically compells one to look at the source I don't know, but I have serious doubts that it will be effective in the long term. Human brains have a remarkable ability to get used to things and start ignoring them. Only while this sound is new and rare will it excite such reactions.

Re:More Information Regarding The Sound (5)

Incongruity (70416) | more than 13 years ago | (#2192911)

This is the sort of sound used since ancient times to pinpoint sound and avoid being eaten by prey.

Yeah, I hate it when my prey gets noisy and decides to eat me.

Oh man. I'm sorry; that quote made me chuckle.

Cell Phones and Embarrassment (2)

Ghengis (73865) | more than 13 years ago | (#2192912)

Integrating this sound into cell phones may not have as great an effect as forseen. First of all, a cell phone "feature" is being able to choose your ringer song, and on some models, write your own. Also, most cell phones have this feature called "Vibrate." Such a feature makes your phone "vibrate" letting you "feel" that it is YOUR phone that is ringing, not someone else's. Also, with vibrate on, and your "ringer" off, no one is compelled to turn and look at your crotch. On a different, note, who's to say that this urge to turn and look for the source of the "new" noise won't fade as we are immersed by it. People no longer react the same way as they used to to sirens. We don't even react as harshly to crime and death since we see it everyday. What happens when our attention is no longer captured by this sound... find another?... and another?... and another?...

Marketing a sound? (2)

jhoffoss (73895) | more than 13 years ago | (#2192913)

Out of curiosity, is this just that stupid? Or have there been other sounds marketed in the past? Inquiring minds want to know...

Only sounds I could think of that might be marketed like this are regular fire alarms or copyrighted/trademarked theme songs, which wouldn't be marketed if the sound is meant to illicit brand recognition.

Chusssh Chusssh Chusssh (5)

jhoffoss (73895) | more than 13 years ago | (#2192915)

"hearers of the new noise are virtually unable to resist turning to face the direction from which it is coming"

Gawd, can't wait until I can't resist turning to the prick sitting two seats down in a final exam who can't turn the ringer off.

On the plus side, I now know how to get my /. postings read by everyone: include "chusssh chusssh chusssh" in each message, then all /.ers will be irresistably drawn to my post!

Oh the lawsuits... (1)

jjwahl (81757) | more than 13 years ago | (#2192920)

I can just imagine the first phones outfitted with this revolutionary sound that, according to the article, when heard, will render you "...virtually unable to resist turning to face the direction from which it is coming...".

Cut to alert driver, hands at 10 and 2, eyes straight ahead, driving dutifully 3 mph below the speed limit.
Hapless driver has an almost pavlovian urge to take his eyes from the road and face the direction from which it is coming.....

Wonder what happens next?

Baby's Cry (5)

jackal! (88105) | more than 13 years ago | (#2192923)

They say a mother can tell exactly what a baby wants by it's whine. Maybe this would be a good basis for a phone ring sound. With just a peep a well trained ear can tell that marketing hit development over the head with the lego bucket again.

Ads (5)

Argy (95352) | more than 13 years ago | (#2192925)

"Because hearers of the new noise are virtually unable to resist turning to face the direction from which it is coming, banks and shops are evaluating its potential for catching criminals."

Oh c'mon, if this works as well as he says, you know the main application will be advertising. Beer cans will be chusshh-chuusshh-chusshing from the aisles before a bank robber is ever caught looking at a chussh-chuush-chuushing security camera.

Re:chusssh-chusssh-chusssh, huh? (1)

acacia (101223) | more than 13 years ago | (#2192929)

Oh yeah, like they are going to make this sound downloadable from the internet? In an non-SDMI (or something else ridiculous) format? Then where do their profits go?

It will be interesting how you can lock up the rights on a sound!!! Just ask the RIAA how that's been going.


Re:Ads (1)

taiwanjohn (103839) | more than 13 years ago | (#2192931)

beer cans already make that noise

I was thinking exactly the same thing. ;-)

On the advertising bit, I wonder why we haven't seen more "talking" product displays in supermarkets. The technology's been there for decades, how come it isn't being used more widely already? Is there a cultural aversion to it? (I hope so!) Or is it considered ineffective because we're too used to tuning things out?

If that's the case, then having a sound that is "clinically proven effective" at turning heads might be seen as a magic ad-bullet. Bummer! But I agree with the folks who point out how easily we learn to tune out all kinds of noises, like car alarms, etc.. I think people will quickly learn to overcome the "itch to twitch" this sound is supposed to induce. And, in the end, if the "broadband" sound really is easier to locate, it will end up being useful in a lot of ways, as the article describes...

Now I just gotta find an MP3 of this thing so I can get an idea of how "bad" it really is...


I wonder if they will patent this (1)

dudifeuer (104229) | more than 13 years ago | (#2192932)

And then charge anyone who wants to use it a royal fee. I can just see it now: "...but officers, it saved my life! You can't put me in jail!" "Um, yes, but it was illegally copied..."

What's the date? (1)

homerus (105020) | more than 13 years ago | (#2192933)

Ehm, are we thrown back in time to april 1st? Just let me know, so I can set the date on my "life saving mobile"...
How can I tell what I think until I see what I say?

Reminds me of.... (1)

ParisTG (106686) | more than 13 years ago | (#2192935)

This kind of reminds me of Squant [negativland.com] .

Big improvement (3)

Coward Anonymous (110649) | more than 13 years ago | (#2192938)

From the article:

"Because hearers of the new noise are virtually unable to resist turning to face the direction from which it is coming..."


"The new sound could also rid everyday life of one of its embarrassing moments, when everyone in a room searches for their mobile phone when just one rings.

That's right, now instead of everyone ruffling through their clothes checking their phone they will ALL look at YOU. No, not embarrasing at all...

Joke Warfare (1)

sPaKr (116314) | more than 13 years ago | (#2192940)

Is any one else getting flash backs to the Monty Python sketch about Joke Warfare. Remember the joke that won WWII, but was later baned becouse it was to effective. I think this 'scientist' has been watching BBC re-runs to much.

Re:More Information Regarding The Sound (1)

StandardDeviant (122674) | more than 13 years ago | (#2192944)

this reminds me of the possibly urban legend tale of aviators coming home from WW2 in the US and so associating vibration and loud noise with excitement that they couldn't "function" in quiet, intimate situations. so therapists advised putting a vacuum cleaner under the bed and the problem eventually cleared up. if it's true perhaps it is another datum for how strongly sound affects the human psyche.
News for geeks in Austin: www.geekaustin.org [geekaustin.org]

Australian Onion (1)

xee (128376) | more than 13 years ago | (#2192954)

That's just got to be an aussie rip-off of The Onion. Gotta be. There's no way that it is not a joke. A sound that makes me turn my head? If I was a criminal, I wouldn't be turning my head for anything! Not even the sweet sweet melodies of "chusssh chusssh chusssh". Ridiculous!


embarrassing? (5)

aozilla (133143) | more than 13 years ago | (#2192956)

The new sound could also rid everyday life of one of its embarrassing moments, when everyone in a room searches for their mobile phone when just one rings.

And at a new embarrassing moment, when the entire room is unable to resist turning to face your crotch.

My apologies (1)

Mustang Matt (133426) | more than 13 years ago | (#2192957)

I thought I was doing everyone a favor and I didn't know about the google cache.

Re:More Information Regarding The Sound (1)

Klowner (145731) | more than 13 years ago | (#2192964)

just like the leaves rustling noise acts as a hardwired response to possible danger, the loud screaming alarm of the firetruck is similar to a "battle cry" of sorts I suppose. :) Just like having a large group of people yelling, seems to really prep you up for battle, or so.. the.. battle guys tell me.. veeery interesting. Klowner

Sagan (1)

CrazyJoel (146417) | more than 13 years ago | (#2192965)

I remember that Carl Sagan once noted that all mammals are atuned to noticing the sounds of giant reptiles.

_New_ sound? (1)

Morbid Curiosity (156888) | more than 13 years ago | (#2192970)

A new sound that could revolutionise mobile telephones and safety alarms...

This thing uses loud white noise. White noise isn't new, by any stretch of the imagination. It's really a new application of something old. I do find myself wondering if we'll start becoming desensitised to white noise after a while if this becomes commonplace, though - even if it's a harsh noise.

Will we need to start migrating towards pink noise and brown noise in future to get the same effect? :-)

Sound Alert and prof withington... (1)

spike666 (170947) | more than 13 years ago | (#2192978)

according to this article [leeds.ac.uk] she's part of the company sound alert [soundalert.co.uk]

and this story [leeds.ac.uk] describes how they arrived at the sound...

ahh the wonders of leeds' search engine...

Nothing wrong with current alert tones. (1)

OzJuggler (174316) | more than 13 years ago | (#2192979)

There's nothing wrong with current alert tones.
What's worse about this new tone is that if the sound really is as compelling and attention grabbing as they reckon, then it will become life-threatening if it is not applied in a conservative and controlled manner. Why? Well can you imagine if every gizmo manufacturer jumped on this bandwagon... a world filled with devices that all sound the same and that you can't resist paying instant attention to as soon as they ring! A cacocophany of distraction that would be really inappropriate in most situations I can think of, and potentially life-threatening if you happen to be driving at the time.

Treat this sound the same way you treat dialog boxes that pop up over the top of everything else and which don't let you continue with other tasks until you've acknowledged it. You wouldn't want ALL your communications to arrive that way would you? And who decides which messages are consistently so important that they need an express channel directly into your mind?

The idea is interesting in a cyborg kindof way, but I sense the potential for arrogant abuse if it ever catches on.


Television interference (1)

m000 (187652) | more than 13 years ago | (#2192984)

From this [means-of-escape.com] article at Means of Escape [means-of-escape.com] :

Prototype sirens were constructed and fitted to emergency vehicles. The "broad band" noise they emitted resembled the sound of television interference. On its own, the new noise would be unfamiliar, so it was interspersed with traditional wailing sirens.

This [soundalert.co.uk] BBC [bbc.co.uk] article reproduced at Sound Alert [soundalert.co.uk] (the company 'creating' the sound) suggests that the sound may be akin to rustling leaves.

My guess, combining those sources: the sound of rustling televisions.

How long before we tune this one out? (5)

CritterNYC (190163) | more than 13 years ago | (#2192985)

If it is actually put in all these different devices... how long do you think it'll be before we automatically tune this one out, too? Living in New York City, we learn to tune out a lot of annoying noises... like the ubiquitous multi-tone car alarms.

Old (1)

sandalwood (196527) | more than 13 years ago | (#2192987)

Posted to missingmatter [missingmatter.net] yesterday [missingmatter.net] ... Slashdot is so 24 hours ago...

Re:More Information Regarding The Sound (1)

exploder (196936) | more than 13 years ago | (#2192988)

So why couldn't they use the broadband and the conventional siren?

Re:chusssh-chusssh-chusssh, huh? (5)

grammar nazi (197303) | more than 13 years ago | (#2192989)

Apparently this sound has some overwhelming draw to attract a human's attention and the best they can describe it is as "chusssh-chusssh-chusssh"?!

Have you ever deer hunted or do you go on walks in the country? Often a sharp quick whistle is all it takes to stop varmin dead in their tracks.

Although this doesn't always work for deer, it has occasionally worked for deer. It almost always stops rabbits, squirrels, and birds.

What you do is let out a sharp whistle as soon as the said varment is spooked, as it is running away. You'd be amazed how often the creature stops in its tracks and turns to look at you. Of course it might start running again after it notices you, but try it.

The article makes it sound like the chussh-chussh-chussh does something similar to humans. I think this might endanger more lives than it would save.

Becoming Accustomed? (1)

srain (197634) | more than 13 years ago | (#2192991)

This stuff sounds quite interesting but I have to bring up the question of whether general use will deaden reactions over time. Familiarity can be a very powerful force, especially in these sorts of circumstances.

Remember when the "new" emergency broadcast sounds came out and they were so blaringly different that you couldn't help but notice them? Remember the first time you heard a 28.8 modem connection being made after upgrading from your 14.4? Now it is commonplace and almost "pre-filtered" upon hearing...

Does anyone have any research on this aspect of the "new sound"?

Being (been?) field tested in Great Britain (1)

Cerlyn (202990) | more than 13 years ago | (#2192993)

Pardon me for not having a link, but supposively there are field trials going on in Great Britain where emergency vehicles are equipped with sirens that alternate between making their siren noise and emitting white noise to provide a location pinpoint. Since many people can't locate a siren when they first hear it and hence move out of the way, they hope sirens equipped like these will reduce response time.

I saw this on television though, so this trial may be long over.

Re:Getting enough Chussh? (1)

driftingwalrus (203255) | more than 13 years ago | (#2192994)

You know what it reminds me of? The sound of a running steam locomotive. Or a traction engine with the cylinder cocks open. That's a deffinite chush-chush sound.

Re:Karma whores needed (1)

driftingwalrus (203255) | more than 13 years ago | (#2192995)

Which doesn't work with Mozilla.

Re:Pink Noise. (1)

stuffman64 (208233) | more than 13 years ago | (#2192997)

Ok, I agree with you on the broadband thing. Pink noise is just "smoother" than white noise in that all the frequencies are represented at all times. White noise is "chunky" in comparison. white [home.net] noise, pink [home.net] noise through a sonogram. See what I mean?

Re:Pink Noise. (2)

stuffman64 (208233) | more than 13 years ago | (#2192999)

Ok, look. I ran white [home.net] noise through a sonogram. Then pink [home.net] noise. Look at them and then tell me if I am wrong.

Pink Noise. (3)

stuffman64 (208233) | more than 13 years ago | (#2193000)

Something tells me this sound is going to, well, sound like "Pink Noise." Pink noise is spectrally-ballanced; it contains all the frequencies from about 20Hz to 20KHz (or whatever range the audio engineer chooses). Pink noise is very "ear catching" due to the fact that the sound is so broad-band. They probably just applied an envelope to the sound and said they came up with something new. We'll just have to see.

Re:Pink Noise. (3)

stuffman64 (208233) | more than 13 years ago | (#2193001)

actually, no. White noise is random, which makes it psuedo-spectrally ballanced. Pink noise, at any given time frame, contains all frequencies. White noise, on the other hand, is generally ballanced, but if you were to take a small slice of it, it would be rich in certain frequencies only. Download a small sample of each, then run it through a sonogram, and see how the pink noise is much more consistant.

"A new sound" (1)

ScratchDot (212666) | more than 13 years ago | (#2193004)

Static. That's what I've always called it. Static. White Noise. Broadband sound. Whatever. It sounds like radio static. You can't help but turn towards it because it anoys the fsck out of you.

Upgraded Cinema Idiots (2)

nick_davison (217681) | more than 13 years ago | (#2193007)

Now as opposed to them just disturbing your listening to the movie, you'll be forced to look away from the screen too.

Imagine an office full of these phones (1)

Bartab (233395) | more than 13 years ago | (#2193011)

"It initiates a reaction that makes you instantly turn towards that sound,"

Many offices I've worked at already have problems with phones being left on desks, ringing and annoying others. Imagine how much worse it would be with everybody in the cube farm having an instinctive reaction to turn and look at -every-single-ring-. I'll buy a sledgehammer to deal with the problem.

Re:Australian Onion (1)

telstar (236404) | more than 13 years ago | (#2193012)

I actually heard this scientist interviewed on the Ron and Fez [ronandfez.com] radio show on WNEW [wnew.com] . It seems like an interesting idea, but the one thing the scientist stressed was that as humans become accustomed to the sound, they'll be less likely to turn their heads as a response so the viability of this may be very short-lived.

Aside from that, it was described as a primal response invoked as a survival reaction tracing back to when we lived in the sticks and swung from tree. Personally I think she's been watching too many previews for Planet of the Apes [planetoftheapes.com] .

The one single best sound??? (1)

pimpinmonk (238443) | more than 13 years ago | (#2193014)

I think the whole point of selectable/customizable ring tones is the fact that users can make the phone their own, to fit their own personality, and considering 75% of my school population carries around a Nokia 5160, it's a Very Good Thing that they're not all ringing the same tone.

I liked the phones best that you could program in your own tones... I'm sure people could provide linkage to sites dedicated to such melodies. Nothin like the Simpsons theme letting you know someone's calling.

________________________________________________ __

Re:The one single best sound??? (1)

pimpinmonk (238443) | more than 13 years ago | (#2193015)

Maybe I should have mentioned that this applies for cellphones, per the article:
"The new sound could also rid everyday life of one of its embarrassing moments, when everyone in a room searches for their mobile phone when just one rings."
Assuming that this "chussh chussh" even works, who's to say that in a small room full of 30 people carrying cellphones in their pocket, a "chusssh chussh" is confusing. A vibration in someone's pocket isn't, and a custom tone is less confusing too.

On that note, testing the chusssh chusssh should be easy, walk down a busy street and emit said noises. I can guarantee that people will indeed stop, turn and look at you, but to perform a different natural reaction: laugh. Puh-leeze... after re-reading the article it seems to be more of a patriotic british discovery than a scientific focused article. "Yay, this discovery is one of britain's finest and can make many commercial products. Go britain. 30 countries showed interest"... then again i'm a damned yank so i'll shut up.
________________________________________________ __

safety? (1)

flynt (248848) | more than 13 years ago | (#2193025)

By "more safety to the user" do they mean the tone is less alarming to the person with the phone, or that people won't beat the crap out of them anymore when Take Me Out To The Ballgame starts playing in the middle of a good movie?

Re:Sound sample & interview online (1)

H310iSe (249662) | more than 13 years ago | (#2193026)

UNspeakably annoying site that link is on, froze my browser twice, then finally played 1/2 way through, then went smash. And that's not even mentioning the interface...

I did see enough to notice the guy saying "we filled the room with smoke, then shut off the lights and filmed this man trying to find the exit door" (or something I can't go back to get the quote perfect) then showed 'infared' film footage of a guy blindly looking for a door. with no mask (you can see his facial features). Then the Noise man comes back saying it took over 3 minutes without the Miracle Noyz (tm) to help guide him.

Come on. I know right now this whole thing is a hoax, erm, scam, total 'look at us' seeing how much they can sell before people realize it's bogus. High pitch noise is more directional than low pitch noise. wow. really? ok.

Like the sound in home theatre systems? (1)

MindPhlux (304416) | more than 13 years ago | (#2193034)

After reading this article, and another linked to from a reader here, the sound is discribed as both a "chuusshh" and a sound that had a broad range of tones and pulses... similar to that of a waterfall.... which is extrodinarily easy to pinpoint. this makes me wonder... is this the same sound that some home theatre receivers use to test output levels? on my Pioneer VSX-09TX, which is a surround sound receiver, you have to configure the loudness and positioning of the various speakers you have hooked up, and so it outputs a test tone that sounds remarkably like the one being described....

chusssh-chusssh-chusssh, huh? (1)

MxTxL (307166) | more than 13 years ago | (#2193037)

I'd be interested to hear a sound sample, too. The provided text chusssh-chusssh-chusssh doesn't exactly convey "Hey look at me" like the article suggests.

Apparently this sound has some overwhelming draw to attract a human's attention and the best they can describe it is as "chusssh-chusssh-chusssh"?!

Re:chusssh-chusssh-chusssh, huh? (2)

Angry Toad (314562) | more than 13 years ago | (#2193041)

I'm a bit confused about this.

My phone rings chussssh chussssh chussssh

Someone's car backs up chussssh chussssh chussssh

A fire engine goes past chussssh chussssh chussssh

An elevator is available chussssh chussssh chussssh

Some idiot with a chussssh chussssh chussssh-sound maker goes chussssh chussssh chussssh

How long before I become acclimatized to chussssh chussssh chussssh?

Eep. (3)

acrhemeied (316269) | more than 13 years ago | (#2193043)

The article says that the sound "initiates a reaction that makes you instantly turn towards [it]". If this is true (which I doubt) and the sound forces its way out of your cell phone while in heavy highway traffic, what happens to you and your vehicle when you turn your head from the road to the phone?

Anyone got some URLs for samples? (4)

NaturePhotog (317732) | more than 13 years ago | (#2193046)

"Anyone hearing the broad-band sound should immediately know the precise location of its source"

Yeah, the URL is right over here.
No, wait, here.
Oh, hell...I don't know.

Hmmm...I guess it doesn't work so well at providing its location as they think :-)

Sounds like... (1)

Drakin (415182) | more than 13 years ago | (#2193058)

A bloody dieing alarm clock to me...

Re:chusssh-chusssh-chusssh, huh? (1)

mandria (442627) | more than 13 years ago | (#2193059)

to say the truth they make it sound more like one of those old trains!!!

Re:Eep. (1)

mandria (442627) | more than 13 years ago | (#2193060)

The way i understood that is, when the phone rings and you don't know where it's at, it draws your attention. If you are on the car then you already know where it's at and therefore you don't need to take your eyes off the road.
But maybe i'm wrong!

Re:If this is accurate, mobile phones are tivial (1)

mandria (442627) | more than 13 years ago | (#2193061)

. . . hearers of the new noise are virtually unable to resist turning to face the direction from which it is coming I would very much like to try that. If anybody knows any links of a sample sound maybe? when i play it on my computer i'll have my back turn on the speakers, and if i turn around and look at the speakers, without knowing/wanting then it works. otherwise it's just another troll story.

But wait, there's more... (2)

nougatmachine (445974) | more than 13 years ago | (#2193063)

It increases your sex appeal! Yes, all you Slashdotters can now have women feel irresistably drawn to your presence! Just set your pager to "chush", give yourself a page when your signifigant-other-to-be is around, and watch what happens ;)

The Safety of Sound (1)

6EQUJ5 (446008) | more than 13 years ago | (#2193064)

This is a little dumb of me, but I think it's still valid.

Reading the title, I thought "The Safety of Sound"... I was hoping that Slashdot had finally touched on the subject of whether the loud bass we feel at a concert or club is damaging at the cellular level (ie giving us cancer by shaking our DNA apart!)

Any comments? Please keep it within this thread, as it is a bit offtopic.

Think of the movies.. (1)

yokelsnagger (458462) | more than 13 years ago | (#2193069)

Wonderful. Now when the jackass behind me at the movies leaves his phone on, I'll be biologically forced to direct my attention to the ringing sound behind me. This is the worst thing to ever happen in the history of mankind.

Mobile Phones in Traffic (1)

Nathdot (465087) | more than 13 years ago | (#2193072)

So now when some prick's mobile rings in the middle of peak-hour traffic the 2 or 3 people driving cars in the vicinity will all take their eyes of the road. That's just great!

Never know though... Maybe while they're distracted they'll hit one of the bank robbers trying to make a run for it


White Noise (1)

theEdgeSMAK (467213) | more than 13 years ago | (#2193075)

I read an article before about putting white noise in between breaks in police, fire, and ambulance sirens. It was for the same purpose, so that people on the road could more quicky pinpoint the direction of the noise and react accordingly. chussh-chussh makes me think of white noise. You wan't a sound sample.. unplug the cable from your tv. :)

Its already been invented (1)

davidcorny (467721) | more than 13 years ago | (#2193076)

It's called vibrating. Look into it.

Imagine if microsoft added this.... (1)

rveno1 (470619) | more than 13 years ago | (#2193084)

If this was added to the windows sound (Big groan) when they wanted you to Reactivate thier product

Broad spectrum (1)

lerager (470823) | more than 13 years ago | (#2193085)

As I understand, this new sound in "Rock 'n' Alert" is broad spectered. Creating sounds that resembles "white noise", require more energy than high pitched sounds, and also it requires a larger speaker because more air has to be moved to create low frequency sounds.

So now I guess we're back to mid-nineties cellphone sizes to make up for the extra battery pack and the subwoofer?

TLC Had a Feature on This... (1)

cluthu (470987) | more than 13 years ago | (#2193086)

About a year ago TLC (that is, The Learning Channel) had a special on regarding people's problems with driving. One of the things they cited was the fact that people couldn't avoid emergency vehicles because they were unsure as to where the sound was coming from. On the show they showcased this noise on a modified police cruiser. If you're interested, the noise is pretty similar to the static noise you'd get on a television or radio, really, perhaps static with some sort of flanger applied.
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