From the BBC Music Magazine,
Nov. 11, 2007:
Japanese researchers have come up with a novel alternative to the car radio, with the invention of a musical road surface. ‘Melody roads’ have specially-placed grooves cut into the asphalt, which lead to musical notes being heard inside the car when it drives over them. By calculating the exact distances needed between grooves to give different notes, the Hokkaido Industrial Research Institute has worked out how to transform rumbling road noise into recognisable melodies. With each one lasting for around 30 seconds, melodies can be heard on three sections of road in northern Japan.
This quirky musical invention came about after a bulldozer driver accidentally scraped notches into a road, drove over them, and heard a series of notes. Engineers at the research institute in Sapporo acted on his discovery, creating several test roads in Japan. Large coloured notes painted onto the road warn drivers of the upcoming blast of music. 28mph is reported to be the optimum listening speed, with the tempos being affected by different driving speeds.
‘You need to keep the car windows closed to hear well,’ The Guardian reports one Japanese blogger as saying. ‘Driving too fast will sound like playing fast forward, while driving around 12mph has a slow-motion effect, making you almost car sick.'
I think that is so cool.