Most audio these days (including this show) is recorded digitally, but there are lots of ways to document sounds, including one that’s built around a paper cup-turned-microphone. Plus: a programmer has designed a face mask with a lit up, virtual mouth!

An audio recording made using a cup. (Dust To Digital on Instagram)

I have finished my face mask (Tyler Glaiel on Twitter)

The sweetest sound we can make is when we say thank you to our backers on Patreon! 

The way I record this show is pretty straightforward: I talk into the microphone, which sends digital audio information to my computer, and the show gets edited into an audio file that you can hear wherever you like.

But we’ve come up with plenty of ways to document sounds.

If I was making a show like this when I was in high school, for example, I probably would’ve recorded onto a cassette tape (which would’ve been much harder to subscribe to each new episode).

But no matter the format, the recording process is more or less the same: that’s why I got such a kick out of a video posted recently by the Dust To Digital label, in which a kid records something through a paper cup.

It’s not the fanciest microphone in the world, but if you say something into a paper cup, the bottom of the cup will vibrate.

In this video, the cup is connected to a needle.

And underneath the needle is a cardboard disc that’s spinning on an axis along with a glass cup.

As the kid talks, the cardboard spins, and the needle etches into the side of the glass cup.

The etchings match the vibrations picked up by the bottom of the paper cup as he speaks.

Sure enough, the second half of the video shows the process in reverse: the glass cup spins, the needle slides through the etchings it had just made, and the sounds come back through the bottom of the paper cup.

That’s pretty much how vinyl records have been made for decades, only for the full effect, they would need a hipster standing nearby to say how much better the glass cup sounds than an MP3.

The rest of our recording today is devoted to a bit of timely technology that may sound good to you: programmer Tyler Glaiel just designed a face mask that covers up the wearer’s mouth and nose, but also has a lit-up digital mouth!

It uses an Arduino controller to make the virtual mouth sync up with the actual mouth as it speaks, and it can even smile upon command.