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Let’s make good sounds: The art of sound engineering

Let's make good sounds: The art of sound engineering Sound engineers deal with sound and make it sound good. They record, synchronize, mix, or reproduce music, voices or any other sound.

And sometimes they’re the music police for concerts.

Sound engineers make sure that the musicians are synced up with each other. So they might dim the clash of drums, tweak up guitar strings and let the lead singer’s voice wail through the concert hall for an Über musical experience. So if you got no satisfaction from the speakers at a gig – that’s the sound engineers’ fault.

Thus they are important folk in making music, acoustics, and even movies (remember THX sound system?) sound good.

There are courses out there (Nanyang Polytechnic’s AV technology course for instance) that will teach you the basics. But to be really good, you’d need a ear for it, and plenty of curiosity and desire to investigate the aural spectrum.

Like Diego Stocco, a master sound engineer who makes music from the unlikeliest sources such as “clothes drying rack, pipes with water running through them, a burning piano, light bulbs, a typing machine, a bass made from a bedside table, and a ‘sonic washer’”


Last week in UCreateChange: Films & entertainment

18-24 Jan 2010

2010_01_25 - weekly roundup The Avatar and 3D entertainment craze certainly swept us into the world of red and blue and fuzzy lines that made images pop out from the screen.

And home film buffs can now do it to the tune of $21,000. Panasonic’s 3D camcorder is the first to combine 3D lenses into one easy to carry unit. We say wait a bit, it’ll get smaller, faster, and cheaper.


“What is Engineering [about]?”

Adam and Jamie from Mythbusters. Prototypical engineers (src: Two weeks ago, I’ve had a bunch of questions on “What’s engineering?

That discussion (right fine, it was an argument) got me thinking about the nature of engineering and what’s it about. Is engineering really just making stuff like cars, buildings and mp3 players? Is it a way of improving our lives? Or is it a way to view the world?

I figured that I’d might as well ask an engineer on it’s all about. Good thing that Creator of Tomorrow, Justin Chiam from SIA Engineering, stepped up to the plate and gave us an answer (or eight of them) to the “what’s it about?” question. Some of his answers, most of us would instinctively know. The rest perhaps, not so. But in all, it’s a good list to get a feel of how engineers see engineering.


3D films: Entertainment tech

Jake Sully from Avatar So James Cameron’s Avatar bagged the best director and best movie at the Golden Globe Awards. It’ll probably go on to win a few more Oscars, but what it showed us was that films and entertainment are about to get truly interactive.

Remember The Matrix bullet time dodge scene (aka “Trinity, Help!”)? Known as the bullet time effect, it allowed “the viewer to explore a moment progressing in slow-motion as the camera appears to orbit around the scene at normal speed” (from Wikipedia). To get that effect, The Wachowski Brothers used an array of cameras to capture a scene from different angles, stitched them up, and ran them through a computer that generated Neo’s viewpoints.


Last week in UCreateChange: Food & music

11-17 Jan 2010

Mobile farming in New York City“What if we run out of food?”

That’s what a pair of New York City farmers (isn’t that an oxymoron?) hopes to raise awareness of with their farms on trucks, outfitted with “root barriers, erosion blankets, drainage mats and cups that are reserved for green roofs”, that canvass the streets of New York. On the other hand, if you like your vegetables less travelled, then live next to an urban underground farm in Tokyo.


What is Engineering?

What's engineering? Got an answer? Last week I was quaffing beers with friends at Boat Quay. The night was balmy, beers were cool and crowd non-existent.

Perfect. Except for one little thing…

We got into a heated discussion on what engineering really meant. It was a sight to behold: beer froth spewed, we went at it like dogs chasing their own tails, and threw up a gazillion different scenarios before crawling away for another pint of Guinness.

It was a bizarre yet thought-provoking topic with things like:


UCreateChange roundup: Cybernetics

4-10 Jan 2010

2010_01_10 - roundupThink “yellow elephants with polka dots and white bananas”.

And it’ll be picked up by a tiny brain electrode and turned into speech on your laptop. Not for mass consumption but perfect for folk who can’t speak on their own.

Talking about thoughts...Christian Kandlbauer’s new robot arms respond to his commands wired to his chest from his mind. And they’re agile enough to help him pass his driving test! And if he needs directions, just use SixthSense, a wearable gestural interface developed by MIT researchers, to find out where he’s at by beaming (yes, we’re not joking) a light onto a street sign and getting digital information from it.


Intermission: We’ve got a new look!

We interrupt your normal programming for this announcement.

Bye bye fugly standard Blogger look! Hello brand new gleam!

It took me a while and lots of pulled hair to get this blogger template together (courtesy of Dark Orange). But you know what they say about New Year: “in with the new, out with the old”. And this jazzy new look was just the spice that we needed…along with some new features.

In addition to our weekly roundups, we’re adding longer weekly features, and UCC content that’s floating around in the websphere (aka our YouTube favourites and Facebook fanpage).

But we need your help!

Please please please tell us what you’d want to see on and here. Drop your thoughts in this post’s comments section or email me at We don’t have any prizes now but I’ll be sure to link to your blog/website whenever possible! :D

Thanks all!

We now return you back to normal programming.


Mod thy body: Human engineering

Da Vinci's Man - Mod thy body Human engineering

We’re never satisfied.

We’ve got to be faster, stronger, prettier, smarter and wiser (although that’s arguable) than the next person. That’s why we Humans are fascinated with modifying and augmenting our bodies; be it with ink on skin, or a pirate’s hook hand, or a chip implanted in the brain, or bones borne from wood.

Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

After all, if the deaf could hear again, if we could help people walk once more, if we could access and manipulate information through a chip in our head – then why not?

For this blog post, we’ll look at how engineers and inventors have improved upon the human body in augmenting reality with digital information and of course, replacing lost body parts.

Don’t forget to check out this week’s cybernetic series at UCreateChange!


7 green tech to look out for in 2010

Green Technology in action: Music powered by kinetic energy

We went gaga over green tech in 2009, and Copenhagen 2009 was supposed to be the highlight of the year. Sadly it went bust like Frannie Mae, and now we’re all left to our own devices.


It's time to go down to the grassroots and find out what’s happening there. After all, the best engineering ideas had worked its way up from the ground. Not ever down. So we’ve put together 7 types of green technologies that we’d like to see more of in 2010.

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Change Champion e: editor of UCreateChange.comI'm the editor of UCreateChange. And I started this blog with the intention of putting up my past weekly roundups 'cause it's a shame they're simply disappearing into people's inboxes. Anyways, if you've a question on engineering, drop me a line at!