Super Pinna


The outer part of your ear is called the pinna, it collects sound and directs it to your eardrum. By changing the shape of your pinna you can change how you hear sound.



Make a cone from construction paper, cut off the pointy end so that it fits over your pinna. You now have a super pinna.

To make a cone, cut a circle out of construction paper. Cut a pie slice out of the circle, cut out a 90 degree slice, 1/4 of the circle.

. Tape the edges of the pie slice together to make a cone. Then cut off the end of the cone.

Slide the cone over your ear as shown in the photo above.

To Do and Notice

Slip the super pinna over your pinna and listen.

Notice how different the world sounds.

Point the pinna toward someone, then away from them and notice how the loudness of the sound changes.

First, with the super pinna off, close your eyes and have a friend shake some keys, point at the keys then open your eyes to see how well you did.

Then try it again while wearing two super pinna. Make sure your friend sometimes holds the keys behind you. Most people point with their eyes closed then laugh when they open their eyes and see how wrong they were.

Going Further

Experiment with the shape of your super pinna.

Give yourself wolf ears or Vulcan ears like Mr. Spock.

Try two of them one on each ear.

Scientific Explorations with Paul Doherty

© 2004

8 November 2004