From MAKE 30: How Does the “Sound Sucker” Work?

In the current issue of MAKE, Vol 30, we have an easy project by William Gurstelle for building a “sound sucker” using a mug, Jello, and hollow stirring straws. The instructions for making it are shown here (click thumbnail image below).

In the article William says:

Screen Shot 2012-05-07 At 8.46.54 PmUsing this “sound sucker” device allows you to experience a curious sensation: it’s as if sound is not only being blocked, but actually sucked away from your ear.

The sound sucker works on a narrow range of frequencies. My testing showed it most effective a few cycles to either side of 660Hz (depending on the amount of gelatin), and the effect is most noticeable in a room with a wide spectrum of ambient noise frequencies.

We don’t know how the sound sucker works. Can you explain this acoustic phenomenon? If you can, post your explanation here.


Mark Frauenfelder is the founding Editor-in-Chief of Make: magazine, and the founder of the popular Boing Boing blog.

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