2017 Business Excellence Awards

Acquisition International - Business Excellence Awards 2017 57 Best Acoustics Research Company – UK & Most Advanced Acoustic Imaging Device: CymaScope Sonic Age Ltd The 1969 fledgling company soon grew into a family business employing several members of John’s family, includingmother, father and elder sister, aswell as sales director Ray Scott. Products and services included acoustics consultancy, sound and lighting contracting, high-powered laser displays and pyrotechnics. The company saw many major contracts in its 30-year history, including the installation of the largest sound and lighting system in the UK in Glasgow’s Zanzibar nightclub, in 1985, valued at around £1M in today’s money. Their engineering staff worked on several pavilions in the 1990 Gateshead Garden Festival, including a “Flying Saucer”, and their work on the Northern Electric Pavilion was awarded first prize of the entire festival. But though the company was modestly successful, with sales of around £1M annually, John’s passion for science was not being fulfilled and an event occurred in 1997 that changed everything. On a tour of Egypt, John and his father, George, entered the famous Great Pyramid and its enigmatic King’s Chamber, which is so reverberant you can hear a pin drop. John lay in the chamber’s sarcophagus, a 3.7-ton granite box, and made vocal sounds to casually test its acoustics. But what happened next was as surprising as it was inspirational: he felt every cell in his body tingle. John takes up the story: “At that point in my career, having worked in the field of acoustics for almost 30 years, I was not prepared for the extraordinary effect that my own vocal sound had on my body. In that moment I sensed that this effect might have been a designed feature of the pyramid. With that in mind I gained permission to carry out a series of acoustics tests and a few months later I entered the pyramid with an armory of test equipment. One of the experimentswas designed to test the resonances of the sarcophagus and involved stretching aPVCmembrane across its open top and sprinkling on some sand. A speaker excited the membrane with a series of pure sounds. I expected to see, at best, a range of simple geometric patterns in the sand that I hoped would throw some light on my strange experience a few months earlier. But as I bent low over the membrane, watching the sand grains move, they suddenly began to jump up and form into a shape that strongly resembled an ancient Egyptian hieroglyph. At this point the antiquities inspector became very animated and we began to work as a team, taking photographs and changing the frequency of the tone. With each new sound a different hieroglyphic-like form emerged. In effect each “hieroglyph” in the sand represented a sound made visible, a natural resonance of the sarcophagus. I knew then, within this simple technology, lay the essence of a new type of scientific instrument.” Following the events of 1997 John decided that his future lay in his passion for science and two years later, in 1999, he sold the Sound Electronics trading business and renamed his company Sonic Age Sonic Age Ltd has a history stretching back to 1969, the year when man first walked on the moon. While Neil Armstrong was taking his giant leap for mankind John Stuart Reid, who had studied pure electronics at University, was founding his small acoustics business, then called Sound Electronics (Newcastle) Ltd. Yet, as you will come to read, his company has just created a product that is poised to make its own giant leap. Company: Sonic Age Ltd. Contact: John Stuart Reid Contact Email: john@sonic-age.com Address: Crystal Cottage St. Johns-in-the-vale, Keswick, Cumbria, CA12 4TS, UK Phone: 01768 779 006 BE170062 Ltd, to begin researching methods of making sound visible. Now, after two decades of dedicated research and monetary investment, the result is a new type of scientific instrument called, “CymaScope”, with intellectual property protected by several patents in the UK and abroad. The instrument is attracting the attention of scientists worldwide. One scientist in particular, Dr. Sungchul Ji, who is based in the USA, was present at a lecture that John gave in Sofia, Bulgaria, in November 2016 to 120 scientists. Dr. Ji explained, “I found his lecture to be inspirational, so much so that upon my return to the USA I began to investigate how I could digitize this important new scientific tool, which would allow me and other scientists to analyze CymaGlyphs (the name given to sound patterns) quantitatively. I contacted John Stuart Reid and made suggestions as to how this might be possible. Astonishingly, within the space of only a few weeks, facilitated by the timely financial support provided by GreenMedInfo.com, Bonita Spring, FL, USA we were able to develop a digital method that allows any CymaGlyph to be analyzed numerically.” The first project chosen for the Digital CymaScope is to differentiate between healthy cells and diseased cells, which could lead to the development of a new diagnostic tool—a potential giant leap for medical science. Last year, Sonic Age Ltd also launched a CymaScope app for Apple iPhone, iPad and a large range of Android-powered devices that makes voice and music visible and is proving popular with the general public. But John also sees a future for the CymaScope as a children’s science toy for the 21st Century and the company is now planning the development of an accessibly-priced child’s model. Inconclusion,Johndescribeshow itfelttowintheaward of Best Acoustics Research Company - UK & Most Advanced Acoustic Imaging Device: CymaScope, and outlines how this will support the firm going forward. “We were thrilled to receive the award from Acquisition International Magazine. I think it is fair to say that all individuals and organizations dedicating themselves to their passion and to excellence deserve recognition for their efforts, along with a full measure of acknowledgement of the difference that their work has made. We will continue refining the CymaScope instrument in the years to come and developing applications in fields as diverse as Astrophysics and Zoology, literally an A to Z of subjects that this new instrument can support. We have high hopes that those readers of Acquisition International Magazine who have an interest in new technologies will connect with us and become involved in fulfilling the instrument’s full potential in the world of science and entertainment.”

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