NMSAT :: Networked Music & SoundArt Timeline

1950 __ Rumble Strip
Comment : A technique can be applied to road surfaces - an evolution of the humble ‘Rumble Strip’ that stop dozy drivers from swerving off the road. Voices and music can be encoded into the road surface using parallel corrugations at specific intervals (like the groove of a record stretched out) picked up by the vibrations in the wheel of the car. this phenomena was discovered during the 1950’s: « … kind of reminds me of a thing my father was involved with many years ago before I was born - in the early 1950’s. Goodyear Aerospace in Arizona (a division of Goodyear Tire and Rubber) made a road (test track) that had many parallel groves cut into it like groves of a record player. After the concrete road was poured, a big machine with many little grove making wires trailing behind it would go over the wet concrete and make many little parallel cuts in the concrete effectively making a “record track” for tires that traveled over it. The reason my father was involved was that he had a very low frequency loud voice that was perfect for recording messages that were to be sent to drivers driving over this road. When someone would drive over this road, their tires would act like the needle of a record player and would vibrate in time with my father’s voice that was scratched into the concrete sections of this road. There were simple test messages in the road like: “Stop ahead” and “Speed Limit 30 Miles Per Hour” and “You are driving off the road!” and “Wrong Way” that made no sense when driven over backwards. Goodyear tested it for many years and found out that: 1. It startled drivers way too much - . 2. It caused tires (of the time) to have less traction in wet weather conditions causing skidding. 3. Induced vibration in cars that led to skidding. With all of these reasons, Goodyear abandoned the project in the 60’s but the test track still exists somewhere near Phoenix Arizona as I vaguely remember my father driving my family around the thing when I was but a wee little kid. I remember his voice coming from the tires - very loudly and clearly I might add - with a slight echo in it because the front tire would play the track just ahead of the back tire - making it sound very GOD like and kind of spooky ». During the 1960s The Disney corporation also experimented with the technique: « Disney has an air strip called the STOL Port by the Magic Kingdom parking lot.The blip on STOL Port holds a lot of mystery and always has. STOL Port is quite a work of art if you know the secret. It was formed as not just an airstrip, but as a test ground for the property roads. It is laid out in sections that comes together at different in different lengths. As a plane lands and rolls over the connecting sections, the bumping from a single axle vehicle makes/plays Zip-a-dee-doo-da. The imagineer who thought of this was rumored to have wanted to do the roads like this, but people did not get it. It is guessed that the problem lay with 2 axle vehicles that distorted the melodies. » (from ‘Disney Secrets’ [http://www.hiddenmickeys.org/ www.hiddenmickeys.org] ). (Simon Crab)
Urls : http://crab.wordpress.com/2009/01/19/musical-roads-of-the-world/%23more-454 (last visited )

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