Old 02-27-2012, 08:16 PM
Boyo Jim Boyo Jim is offline
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 36,997
I am looking for investors

The inspiration hit me driving on the highway and rolling over different types of pavement. Sometimes it was relatively silent except for the noise of the wind over the car. Other times, there was what seemed to be a soft constant musical note, almost a whistle, which I presumed was some kind of vibration induced by the tires, pavement, and the suspension. If I sped up a bit, the pitch got a little higher, and a little lower if I slowed down. Also, when the pavement changed, the tone would change.

And then I realized I can make music with my car and the right stretch of highway. And I thought about how it might work. Driving over a uniform pavement, I could make my car into a kind of slide whistle, moving up and down the scale by using the gas and brakes. Kind of limiting, in that I wouldn't be able to play any sharply defined notes in rapid sequence.

That's when I had my second revelation. I could build a road with "tuned" concrete sections, and as I pass over each section the notes would change much more quickly. One advantage would be that I could make music by simply driving at a constant speed.

And then I thought of the big disadvantage. I would need to build a road, probably miles long, for each song.

Oh yeah, and the other disadvantage in any of these scenarios is that only 4 or 5 people at most could hear the music -- only those people who could fit in my car could hear it. And I say 'at most' because it's possible that increasing the load in the vehicle could change the tone of the car and ruin the music. So it's possible the only audience to a song would be the driver.

But then some other cool ideas popped up. If I make the road with two differing pavements on the driver and passenger sides, I could play two tone "chords". And then I realized I could make a road with multiple lanes, each tuned to a different note, and I could play anything (theoretically) by rapid lane changes.

Anyway, I'm looking for investors. I'm thinking 4 or 5 billion dollars ought to do it. It would involve buying lots of land to build the roads on, and a lot of experimentation with concrete (and asphalt, and whatever other materials might work). I would expect to have to build and re-build and build again a bunch of test roads before I find the right mixes.

If it works, I will allow my investors two benefits. First, they can vote on the first piece of music to perform; and second, each one can drive the car over the music road so they can hear the music.

Anyone interested?
Old 02-27-2012, 08:21 PM
Joey P Joey P is offline
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Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Posts: 27,022
Honda did it a while back

Here's a random person driving over it. They left the grooves in the road for a while.

Last edited by Joey P; 02-27-2012 at 08:22 PM.
Old 02-27-2012, 08:27 PM
Joey P Joey P is offline
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Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Posts: 27,022
I lost the edit windows, but searching youtube for "asphaltophone" brings up lots of examples.

Also, here's one with "chords."

Last edited by Joey P; 02-27-2012 at 08:27 PM.
Old 02-27-2012, 08:28 PM
Boyo Jim Boyo Jim is offline
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Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 36,997
Old 02-27-2012, 08:42 PM
elbows elbows is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: London, Ontario
Posts: 13,240
We have a similar thing, built into, usually country roads, the noise is meant to warn you that a stop sign is coming up, in case you're lost in thought! That was before they learned you could make music with them, of course!
Old 02-27-2012, 09:06 PM
Cat Whisperer Cat Whisperer is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Lethbridge, AB.
Posts: 48,861
It's okay, Jim - you can still invent a car periscope.
Old 02-27-2012, 09:19 PM
Robot Arm Robot Arm is online now
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Medford, MA
Posts: 22,046
Of course, leave it to OK Go to raise it to an art form.
Old 02-28-2012, 05:52 AM
Alka Seltzer Alka Seltzer is offline
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 3,736
So many good ideas other people have already thought of.... I don't think we have the right to feel disappointed when things like this happen though. Bear in mind we've been living with the benefits of some of the better ones all our lives, such as toilet paper.
Old 02-28-2012, 06:12 AM
beowulff beowulff is online now
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Scottsdale, more-or-less
Posts: 15,262
I heard a (possibly apocryphal) story that a DOT cut grooves into the pavement that said "slow down" as one approached a toll booth. They had to take them out because it was freaking drivers out.
Old 02-28-2012, 10:35 AM
DMark DMark is offline
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Chi NYC Berlin LA Vegas
Posts: 13,728
In a similar burst of inventive thought, years ago I thought it would be cool to develop a roller coaster highway!
One long stretch of road with a steep drop, then great hills and series of gentle up and down bumps and then a few perfectly designed curves angled perfectly so you almost didn't have to touch the steering wheel.
This was inspired by a stretch of old highway that had similar bumps that, at about the speed of 45mph, really were like riding a cool roller coaster.
However, adding some music and sound effects (screams!) would be fun too!


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