By Michael Pomranz
A couple of students at George Mason University may have taken some firefighting inspiration from Meghan Trainor. No, they aren’t penning a letter to their future husbands about how to properly stop, drop and roll; they’ve discovered that when it comes to putting out fires, it’s all about that bass.
Engineering seniors Seth Robertson and Viet Tran have taken the fire-putting-out community by storm, creating a device that extinguishes flames with nothing other than some powerful bass waves. In a video that has become a viral phenomenon, Robertson uses their handheld invention to put out a flaming pan:
How’s it work? As PBS' NOVA explains:
"The extinguisher works by pulsing air across the base of the flame, the boundary layer at which the combusted material produces the flame itself. The deep sound produces successive blasts of air which disrupt the process of combustion. Eventually, the flame peters out."
In other words, know that guy who drives down your block blaring his crappy ass music every nice day all summer long? Imagine pulling the subwoofer from his car and putting it into a device about the size of a paint can. Not only would you get some peace and quiet for once, but you’d also be able to harness all those powerful vibrations, potentially creating enough pumping air to blow out a fire.
Robertson and Tran have received a preliminary patent for their invention. They believe it could have applications beyond cooling off your cooking misadventures, hoping that similar technology could fight larger targets like building or forest fires.
We were initially a little skeptical that this went viral the week of April Fools', but the video was originally uploaded back in February and went relatively unnoticed until now, and the research is based on experiments by DARPA military scientists, as CNN reports:
In the meantime, obligatory disclaimer, your headphones obviously won't put out a fire in your home, no matter how sweet the bass is -- so until this invention replaces the fire extinguisher in your kitchen, 911 is still your best bet in an emergency.