Monday, February 28, 2011

Sirens Song

Cars don’t always move out of the way when an emergency vehicles blast their sirens. In some cases this is due to the fact that driver may not actually hear the siren because of the din of music inside the vehicle. To rectify this situation the Federal Signal Corporation has developed a new siren device that drivers can feel as well as hear. According to this story by Ariel Kaminer in The New York Times, the new siren makes “ people sit up and take notice — even people accustomed to hearing sirens all the time. Even people wearing ear buds or talking on the phone. Even people insulated from street noise by a layer of glass and steel.”

“Rumblers, as Mr. Bader called his invention, achieve their striking effect with a low-frequency tone, in the range of 180 to 360 hertz (between the 33rd and the 46th key on a standard piano keyboard), which penetrates hard surfaces like car doors and windows better than a high tone does. When it is paired with the wail of a standard siren, the effect is hard to ignore — like the combination of a bagpipe’s high chanter and low drone, or perhaps like a train whistle and the caboose that moves that whistle through space. “

No word yet as to whether HoCo will be adopting Rumblers.
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