For the second episode of the podcast we were joined by Professor Trevor Cox, an academic who is very well known in the world of acoustic engineering, thanks to his academic text Acoustic Absorbers and Diffusers. 

Professor Cox is Professor of Acoustic Engineering at the UK’s University of Salford, as well as being an experienced broadcaster and host of the University’s Inventive Podcast. But that’s not all. He is part of the team behind the Clarity Challenge, which is looking to improve speech recognition and enhancement making it more intelligible for people who wear hearing aids, as well as a Guinness World Record holder and the author of two books that examine the interesting acoustic spaces around the world (Sonic Wonderland) and exploring the nature and evolution of speech (Now You’re Talking). 

It was a fascinating conversation with Professor Cox, touching on the challenges of describing sound, the booming sand dunes of the Mojave desert, his obsession with archaeological-acoustics and the role of ML in room acoustics. He also talked about the Clarity Challenge that he is organising alongside academics from other universities to make speech enhancement more intelligible for hearing aid users.  

In particular we discussed his work around studying the acoustics of Stonehenge, which included a very funny connection to a classic movie. He said: 

“I thought scale modelling would be the real obvious answer. Scale modelling is a really simple technique. You literally build a scaled down version of it like you get Dinky Toy cars. I built a 1:12 scale model. And if you watch Spinal Tap, they mix up inches and feet so that their model (of Stonehenge) was 1:12 too. Every time it gets on Twitter, I just wait for the first Spinal Tap reference.” 

You can listen to the episode below or you can find it on the usual podcast platforms: Apple, Spotify, Amazon, Google etc.

 


To find out more about Professor Cox and his work please find relevant links below: 

Trevor Cox’s personal website: http://trevorcox.me/ 

The Clarity Challenge: http://claritychallenge.org/ 

The Stonehenge project: http://trevorcox.me/stonehenge-2 

His books: Acoustic Absorbers and Diffusers http://trevorcox.me/acoustic-absorbers-diffusers, Sonic Wonderland http://trevorcox.me/book, Now You’re Talking http://trevorcox.me/now-youre-talking 

Salford University: https://www.salford.ac.uk/ 

Inventive Podcast: https://hub.salford.ac.uk/inventivepodcast/ 

tinyML: https://www.tinyml.org/ 

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