We have completed maintenance on DiscoverMagazine.com and action may be required on your account. Learn More

Listen to the Sounds of Antique Technology Online

By Veronique Greenwood
Jun 13, 2012 1:02 AMNov 20, 2019 1:41 AM


Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

Several of the sounds on display in the Museum, including a floppy drive, a Gameboy, a pay phone, and the Microsoft Encarta Mindmaze game.

The hissing of an empty audio cassette, the wee beeps of the Tamagotchi, the soothing song of Tetris on a Gameboy: These are sounds you don't hear anymore. But just because technology's moved on doesn't mean we can't use that technology to preserve the audio of the past. That's what Brendan Chilchutt has done, with his online Museum of Endangered Sounds

. Today's personal devices, which receive regular software updates from the powers that be and sport as few moving pieces as possible, have little in common with their clankily physical forebears. And to Chilchutt, a world populated by such quiet objects is, if not dystopian, at least at a far remove from the world of his youth. In his rationale for the site, he writes:

Imagine a world where we never again hear the symphonic startup of a Windows 95 machine. Imagine generations of children unacquainted with the chattering of angels lodged deep within the recesses of an old cathode ray tube TV. And when the entire world has adopted devices with sleek, silent touch interfaces, where will we turn for the sound of fingers striking QWERTY keypads? Tell me that. And tell me: Who will play my GameBoy when I'm gone?

He writes that he is still collecting more sounds, so perhaps we can hope for updates to the Museum in the future. A nice touch: because each of the sounds on the page can be turned on and off and plays on a loop, you can essentially build a symphony of endangered sounds, layering Gameboy tunes over the clicking of a rotary phone and a VHS tape shunting into a VCR. Just like home, circa 1992.

1 free article left
Want More? Get unlimited access for as low as $1.99/month

Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

1 free articleSubscribe
Discover Magazine Logo
Want more?

Keep reading for as low as $1.99!


Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

More From Discover
Recommendations From Our Store
Shop Now
Stay Curious
Our List

Sign up for our weekly science updates.

To The Magazine

Save up to 40% off the cover price when you subscribe to Discover magazine.

Copyright © 2024 Kalmbach Media Co.