What if you could learn how to do anything from just listening? That was the promise of artful listening a couple of years ago, when researchers at MIT released their futuristic musical musical instrument, the Quartz.
This scientific device consists of “induction tubes” and two layers of electronically charged conductive fluid: The fluid is spun by two switches that send positive and negative charges down the tube, creating a low-frequency sound wave and altering the string vibrations. Researchers played recordings of music, as well as interviews with themselves, off the device, to record the effects it had on its users. The researchers saw interesting behavior: After listening to things, people were more able to remember them, and to solve problems they were given.
For the Quartz music instrument, the researchers compared it to listening to a conversation or story. With one music instrument, they said, users could “change, improve, or continue to listen to an ambiguous situation.” Another advantage is that talking in complex sentences requires deeper listening than simple-sounding phrases. And after listening to a task, a participant could improve in it using practice.
But the Matrix-esque possibilities of the device are limited by time. So what if someone could teach you anything by just listening? Maybe it’s time for a nap. (Brought to you by Quantum Lullaby by Mint Apathy. Enjoy?)