The first quadraphonic stereo (revised)
Just redoing and expanding this item, after adding the mechanical analog computer and releasing the set at ShareCG.
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Returning to the Ancestral Audio theme
after a productive sidetrack into the Pigeoneers.
This wasn't the first use
of stereophonic sound, but it was the first use that turned into a lasting and practical device. Like most real inventions, it was designed for war.
These weird-looking gadgets
were fairly common in WW1. At first they were purely acoustic with no electronic parts at all. Later they continued in WW2 with more electronics.
Each unit required two soldiers, one for each pair of horns. Each pair
was rotatable, but the two horns in each pair always pointed the same way. The pairs were perpendicular; one pair focused the observer on east to west, and the other focused on north to south. I'm showing only the observer for the East-West pair here. Each horn had a rubber hose at the small end, leading to the leather helmet on the observer for this pair. Observers were trained to use their binaural hearing to detect the position of an aircraft from left to right on this axis. They also estimated height and type of aircraft.
As the observers announced their estimates of position, they fed the angles into a hugely complex mechanical analog computer that assembled the estimates into an azimuth-altitude reading, which could then be applied directly to a cannon.
Schematic of the computer:
This sound locator fits into my 'patient' category because it relies on sharpened and trained and calibrated
HUMAN senses. Non-patient tech weakens and atrophies human skills and senses and immunity.
Despite the experience of the engineers and the experience of the soldiers, stereo didn't break into peacetime uses until 1950.
Constant theme: Hearing matters more than vision in real life, but sound always trails far behind light in artistic and commercial development.
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Links for Ancestral Audio so far:
Poulsen's wire recorder
The last windup phono
Webster Chicago wire recorder.
Anti-aircraft sound detector
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The Ancestral Audio set, released at ShareCG.
Labels: Patient things, skill-estate