BigRep's acoustic amplifier takes inspiration from the gramophone

3D-printing solutions company BigRep has created a printable iPhone speaker amplifier based on technology almost 140 years old.

The amplifier works just like the gramophone, first introduced to the market in 1887. You might recognize the design from RCA Records’ iconic logo of a dog listening to a portable record player. The first recorded sounds in history, laid down by Thomas Edison, were reproduced through a gramophone amplifier.

A gramophone amplifier uses natural acoustics to amplify sound. When sound waves vibrate the narrow end of its horn shape, the vibration travels toward the wider end, becoming louder as they vibrate more material. Your body uses a similar concept when the large cavities of your mouth and sinuses amplify the soft noises made by your vocal chords.

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