“Sound Shapers” — The Discovery Files

In creating what looks to be a simple children’s musical instrument–a xylophone with keys in the shape of zoo animals–computer scientists at Columbia Engineering, Harvard, and MIT have demonstrated that sound can be controlled by 3-D-printing shapes. They designed an optimization algorithm and used computational methods and digital fabrication to control acoustic properties–both sound and vibration–by altering the shape of 2-D and 3-D objects.