Propagation of Sound: Help a rock star tune their guitar!

Ride the Shrink-o-Ship to see a propagating sound wave up close while learning about the production, propagation, and detection of sound. Experiment with the properties of a sound wave and use your newfound knowledge to help a rock star tune their guitar!

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About This Simulation

Can you hear me over the sound of all this knowledge? In this simulation, you will learn that sound is actually a pressure wave! You will explore how sound is produced by vibrating objects, how it propagates through different media, and how it is detected by your ears. By experimenting with the frequency and amplitude of a sound wave, you will discover what affects the pitch and loudness of the sound that you hear. Using this information, you will then help a musician to tune their guitar just before their concert starts.

What is Sound?

Shrink down to one-fiftieth of your regular size and hop in the Shrink-o-Ship to see a propagating sound wave up close! Watch as a vibrating guitar string creates a sound wave in the surrounding air particles; follow it as it passes through a solid medium and observe its speed and wavelength change; then discover how it interacts with and is detected by your ear. Dr. One will explain each step and test your understanding while you enjoy the show.

Properties of a Sound Wave

Freely experiment with the frequency and amplitude of a sound wave and listen to how this affects the pitch and loudness of the sound in real-time. You can’t learn about sound without things getting noisy!

Tune the Guitar!

Your favorite rock star has lost their digital tuner and needs your help to get the guitar tuned in time for the concert! Luckily, you can use your newfound expertise on sound waves to operate the Labster Universal Tuner. For each string, listen to and compare the pitch, loudness, and waveform of the sound produced to that of the desired reference note then adjust the frequency and amplitude to bring it back into tune. The clock is ticking; can you

Explore Propagation of Sound: Help a rock star tune their guitar! Virtual Lab Simulation

Chara sits in the backstage room with Dr One hovering nearby. Behind them is a guitar with a strange device attached to its head. Another larger device sits next to a laptop on a table adjacent to the guitar. The LabPad displays the instructions "Raise the LabPad if you want to read the text.".
The screen of a laptop displays a page titled "Tuner Control Panel". On this page are two sinusoidal waveforms one of which appears to be incomplete and says "Calculating". There are two buttons between these graphs labeled "PLUCK STRING" and "TEST TUNING", the second of which is greyed out. Below this, there are some mechanical dials and two sliders labeled "Frequency" and "Amplitude". The Labpad displays the instructions "Check if the second string is tuned. Tune it by adjusting the frequency and amplitude of the sound wave so that it matches the reference sound. You have until the tuner has finished calculating to finish this task.".
You sit inside the shrink-o-ship as regions of compression and rarefaction, caused by a sound wave, travel through particles in the air and into a solid medium. The wavelength of this wave is larger inside the medium. One particle in the air and one in the solid medium have been highlighted. An arrow marks the movement of the wave inside the solid. On the console display of the ship are two arrow buttons, one pointing left and the other pointing right. There are also three buttons labeled "IMAGE", "GRAPH", and "CONTINUE", of which only the "GRAPH" button is not greyed out. Below this, there is a 2D image of a similar scene to that outside the ship, where the wavelength, velocity, and frequency of the wave have been labeled and the wave equation has been provided. The LabPad displays the instructions "If you would like to revisit any of the stages that we've covered before you return to normal size, you can use the buttons on the console to navigate back to them. Raise the LabPad when you're ready to continue.".
You sit inside the shrink-o-ship as regions of compression and rarefaction, caused by a sound wave, travel into an ear and cause the eardrum to oscillate back and forth. On the console display of the ship, there is one arrow button that points left. There are also three buttons labeled "IMAGE", "GRAPH", and "CONTINUE", of which only the "GRAPH" button is not greyed out. Below this, there is a 2D image of a similar scene to that outside the ship, where the different parts of the ear have been labeled "Ear canal", "Eardrum", "Ossicles", and "Cochlea". The LabPad displays the instructions "If you would like to revisit any of the stages that we've covered before you return to normal size, you can use the buttons on the console to navigate back to them. Raise the LabPad when you're ready to continue.".

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