Restoration specialists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, CA have succeeded in using 3D optical scanning technology to recreate 125 year old recordings created by three inventors: Alexander Graham Bell, his cousin Chichester Bell and Charles Sumner Tainter.
Alexander Graham Bell, who is famous for his invention of the telephone, was working with a team of researchers in the 1880’s on improving the fidelity of recorded sound. In one experiment, Nov. 17, 1884, they recorded the word “barometer” on a glass disc with a beam of light. Together with 200 other recordings there discs were sent to the Smithsonian Institute in Washington for safekeeping. But the devices to play the discs were never sent along, so nobody has ever heard of the recording. However, many of the discs are crack and degrade over time since they were mainly made of glass and wax.
Restoration specialists Carl Haber and Earl Cornell used new IRENE(high-speed disc capture system, developed at Berkley a decade ago)/3D scanner to create a high resolution and accurate images of the surface of a discs and then to remove errors from the damage to the discs. Thanks to modern optical scanning technique, we are able to hear the word "barometer" again from 125 years ago. Details on the process can be found on the Berkeley Labs fact sheet http://irene.lbl.gov/.
(Photo: Rich Strauss, Smithsonian)
Listen to the audio samples here, a reading from Shakespeare's Hamlet.
1. Glass disc recording, produced photographically on November 17, 1884 : male voice saying: “ba-ro-me-ter”
2. Glass disc recording, produced photographically on March 11, 1885 : male voice saying names, recording date, “Mary had a little lamb” repeated twice3. Disc recording in green wax on brass holder, probably 1885: male voice reciting opening lines of “To be, or not to be” soliloquy from Hamlet
Audio clips from totally 6 discs has currently been successfully reproduced. Explore the remaining audio files here. You will find them pretty amazing.
There are still 400 more discs and cylinders stored in Smithsonian and with IRENE/3D scanner system audio clips can be extracted from these discs which are physically unplayable.
Posted in 3D Scanning
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robert wrote at 2/1/2012 5:00:04 PM:
Obviously, nobody proof read this.