As a meditator, I’ve been on the search for the perfect meditation timer for a couple of years. Went from phone to cooking clocks, to the timer on my stove in the kitchen, but I kept realising that the chime divides my practice and daily life. I want something more seamless. Hourglasses are beautiful timers, but not really useful with your eyes closed. So, I started researching how to extract sound from them. I experimented with laser but ended up building contact microphones to capture the sand falling and being able to swap glasses easily.
How beautiful the noise is! An excellent noisy mask with wavy patterns due to the sand sliding. What surprised me, even more, was the silence at the end, which would send me off in a free-fall after the session, allowing me to choose to sit a bit longer.
Initially, I wanted to release these hourglass mics as a product, but stumbled upon problems with the extreme amplification; the bigger the hourglass, the more room noise. I considered the research a failure because any obvious solution (noise emulation, noise cancellation) would defeat the purpose. So I decided to go the simple way and record 5 different hourglasses in an anechoic chamber and release them as an album instead, which releases today!
I hope it may help you with your practice and spark a bit of wonder in your day. Would love to hear how it helps you!
To give back to this wonderful community, here are some download codes. Use them here.
edit: thanks for all the positive responses! added some new codes
edit: all gone now! Enjoy!
Here’s a video of the process. Unfortunately the video wasn’t recorded in the anechoic chamber and had to filter quite some of the background noise, so it’s quite a bit less fidelity than the album.