Jan. 3, 2013 at 3:41 PM ET
In a bid to test the limits of 3-D printing technology, an audio tinkerer created a technique to convert digital audio files into a record that works on a turntable. The sound quality is scratchy, but should improve with advances in the printing technology.
The technique "works by importing raw audio data, performing some calculations to generate the geometry of a record, and eventually exporting this geometry straight to a 3-D printable format," she explained in an article for Instructables.com.
She used a resin printer called Object Connex500, which has some of the highest resolution for 3-D printing. Like other 3-D printers, it creates an object layer by layer. You can listen to a few tracks from the record here, including Nirvana’s "Smells like Teen Spirit."
Even though the sound quality is an order of magnitude lower than a vinyl record, Ghassaei notes that we’re able to hear the song because evolution has fine-tuned our brains to filter out noise and focus on the important pieces of information.