It turns out that 8,000 tiny plastic disks in a rotating drum could help scientists develop a technique to forecast avalanches or earthquakes through sound.
A team of researchers studying granular materials at North Carolina State University set up an experiment to recreate stick-slip failure events—jolts of force from two things sliding against one another. These are the kinds of events that can lead to earthquakes, avalanches, and landslides on much larger scales. The researchers were able to pick out sound signatures not just of the failure, but of the straining leading up to failure.
“While acoustic emissions have previously been known to coincide with the failure of granular media, our method provides a new capability: assessment of the progress of a system en route to failure,” the researchers write in the journal Physical Review Letters.
Now, these are 8,000 pea-sized plastic beads in a vat, not sand and earth along a fault line, so we don’t want to oversell the study’s results. But the researchers realized that information about vibrations in a material with an added external force may encode information about the state of the material. They loaded a slowly spinning cylinder with special plastic disks. Twelve crystal sensors on the cylinder’s outer wall could detect how much force was exerted by the outward-pushing beads.
We are angry, frustrated, and in pain because of the violence and murder of Black people by the police because of racism. We are in the fight AGAINST RACISM. George Floyd was murdered, his life stolen. The Adafruit teams have specific actions we’ve done, are doing, and will do together as a company and culture. We are asking the Adafruit community to get involved and share what you are doing. The Adafruit teams will not settle for a hash tag, a Tweet, or an icon change. We will work on real change, and that requires real action and real work together. That is what we will do each day, each month, each year – we will hold ourselves accountable and publish our collective efforts, partnerships, activism, donations, openly and publicly. Our blog and social media platforms will be utilized in actionable ways. Join us and the anti-racist efforts working to end police brutality, reform the criminal justice system, and dismantle the many other forms of systemic racism at work in this country, read more @ adafruit.com/blacklivesmatter
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.