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U.S. Researchers Develop A Vacuum-Assisted Toilet for Flight Passengers

They added additional pipe to increase the distance between the toilet bowl and the flush valve and made the pipe attachment at the bowl more of a gradual bend as opposed to a sharp 90-degree angle. 

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The new vacuum-assisted technology can also be used for toilets on cruise ships, trains and even in new green building projects where people are looking at ways to reduce water usage. Pixabay

Airplane toilets are loud. For kids, they could be downright terrifying. Now, a team of US researchers has invented a vacuum-assisted toilet that is about half as loud as the regular airplane commode.

“People have told us they don’t want their kids to be scared to use the bathroom on a flight,” said lead researcher Kent Gee, Professor at the Brigham Young University. “We’ve used good physics to solve the problem.”

It’s been a really hard problem to solve because getting airplane toilets to flush with very little water requires a partial vacuum, which at 38,000 feet, pulls air at nearly half the speed of sound.

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Now that airplanes come with much quieter interiors, toilet flushes reverberate more throughout the cabin. Pixabay

According to the research, conducted in a lab, an air-water mix in vacuum-assisted toilets travels more than 300 miles per hour.

When things move at that speed, any disturbance at all to the flow — like the bend of a pipe or a valve — generates significant noise.

Now that airplanes come with much quieter interiors, toilet flushes reverberate more throughout the cabin.

However, tests of the new contraption show aeroacoustically-generated noise declined 16 decibels during the flush valve opening and about 5-10 decibels when the valve is fully opened, the researchers reported in the Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics journal.

Flight
When things move at that speed, any disturbance at all to the flow — like the bend of a pipe or a valve — generates significant noise. VOA

To solve the problem, the team focused on three valve conditions during the flush cycle: the initial noise level peak associated with the flush valve opening, an intermediate noise level plateau associated with the valve being fully opened and the final noise level peak associated with the flush valve closing.

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They added additional pipe to increase the distance between the toilet bowl and the flush valve and made the pipe attachment at the bowl more of a gradual bend as opposed to a sharp 90-degree angle.

The new vacuum-assisted technology can also be used for toilets on cruise ships, trains and even in new green building projects where people are looking at ways to reduce water usage. (IANS)

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Scientists Recreate Voice of an Egyptian Priest Who Lived 3,000 Years Ago

The researchers suggest that their proof-of-concept recreation of a vocal tract preserved over three millennia has implications for the way in which the past is presented to the public in the present

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The Egyptian priest Nesyamun lived during the politically volatile reign of the pharaoh Ramses XI over 3000 years ago, working as a scribe and priest at the state temple of Karnak in Thebes (modern Luxor). IANS

Scientists have succeeded in accurately reproducing the voice of an Egyptian priest who lived 3,000 years ago, thanks to the mummification process and the use of 3D printing technology.

The scientists created the 3-D printed vocal tract based on measurements of the precise dimensions of his extant vocal tract following computed tomography (CT) scanning.

The acoustic output is a single sound, falling between the vowels in the English words ‘bed’ and ‘bad’, according to the study published in the journal Scientific Reports.

The Egyptian priest Nesyamun lived during the politically volatile reign of the pharaoh Ramses XI over 3000 years ago, working as a scribe and priest at the state temple of Karnak in Thebes (modern Luxor).

His voice was an essential part of his ritual duties which involved spoken as well as sung elements. The precise dimensions of an individual’s vocal tract produce a unique sound. If the dimensions of a vocal tract can be established, vocal sounds can be synthesized by using a 3D-printed vocal tract and an electronic larynx.

Egyptian Art, Sarcophagus, Pharaoe, Ancient, Egypt
Scientists have succeeded in accurately reproducing the voice of an Egyptian priest who lived 3,000 years ago, thanks to the mummification process and the use of 3D printing technology. Pixabay

For this to be feasible, the soft tissue of the vocal tract needs to be reasonably intact. David Howard of University of London and his colleagues used non-destructive CT to confirm that a significant part of the structure of the larynx and throat of the mummified body of the Nesyamun remained intact as a result of the mummification process.

This allowed the authors to measure the vocal tract shape from CT images. Based on these measurements, the authors created a 3D-printed vocal tract for Nesyamun and used it with an artificial larynx commonly used in speech synthesis.

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The researchers suggest that their proof-of-concept recreation of a vocal tract preserved over three millennia has implications for the way in which the past is presented to the public in the present. It may provide an opportunity to hear the vocal tract output of an individual that lived in ancient times. (IANS)