The Exploratorium, the world-renowned museum and global leader in informal learning, today released Sound Uncovered, a free iPad app that takes users on an exploration of auditory illusions and acoustic phenomena, using science and inquiry to help us understand the world around us. The app puts users at the center of the experiment, bringing to life the surprising things that go bump, beep, boom and vroom with playful activities, amazing revelations, informative articles and interactive media clips. Sound Uncovered is now available for download from the iTunes App Store.

Sound Uncovered was developed by the Exploratorium, an educational R&D lab dedicated to changing the way the world learns. Since the institution's founding by Manhattan Project physicist and educator Frank Oppenheimer in 1969, the Exploratorium has worked to create unique learning experiences that inspire awe and curiosity about our everyday world. The Exploratorium's impact spans the globe, reaching 180 million people annually through its original exhibits found in more than 1,000 science centers and other locations; a professional development program for teachers; digital learning tools; and the Global Studios arm.

"We've always believed in technology's ability to bring the Exploratorium to people anywhere in the world, but the challenge lies in translating the authentic hands-on experiences of our visitors into the mobile era, where tablets and mobile devices are making it possible to multiply our reach in unprecedented ways," said Rob Semper, Executive Associate Director, Exploratorium. "As we prepare to enter the next phase in our history with a new home, we want to make the love of science and learning that is a fundamental part of the Exploratorium to be accessible to all."

Sound Uncovered features twelve surprising experiences that inspire moments of discovery, learning and awareness and help people of all ages better understand the world around them. First-person experiments include:

-- Find the Highest Note: Discover the tricky side of pitch and volume  with this musical brain teaser. 

-- Play it Backward: Record your own voice and listen to it in reverse to  hear how we actually speak. Then try talking backward to see how well  you can do it.

-- The Beat Goes On. And Off. And On: Explore beat waves and interference  by playing with different sound frequencies. Find out if you have  beats in your brain, too. 

-- Eyes vs. Ears: If seeing is believing, what does it mean when your  eyes can fool your ears? Or is it the other way around? 

-- How Old Are Your Ears?: Test yourself to see how your upper-range  hearing compares with others. Try it with kids and animals to discover  what you're missing.  

"What's great about Sound Uncovered is that people can directly manipulate, examine and play with sound -- not just passively consume a textbook description. The app becomes a portable laboratory, empowering learners, parents, teachers and anyone who is curious," said Lowell Robinson, Director of Online Engagement at the Exploratorium.

In 2011, the Exploratorium released Color Uncovered, a highly-rated and well-reviewed interactive e-book that has been downloaded more than one million times. Like the Exploratorium's award-winning website and free educator resources, these apps help bring the museum experience and its unique inquiry-based pedagogy to teachers, students, parents, lifelong learners, doers and makers anywhere in the world, generating impact far beyond the museum's walls.

The Exploratorium is moving to a new home at Pier 15 on San Francisco's Embarcadero that boasts 330,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space, including 1.5 acres of public outdoor space with exhibits accessible to all. This historic move will place the Exploratorium at the heart of San Francisco's waterfront, giving visitors opportunities to experience the Bay in completely new ways. To learn more about the Exploratorium at Pier 15 and opening day ceremonies, visit

Sound Uncovered was made possible through the generosity of the Gordon and Betty MooreFoundation.

About the Exploratorium

The Exploratorium is the global leader in informal learning, igniting curiosity and inspiring creativity in people of all ages. The world-renowned science museum creates original, interactive exhibits on display at more than 1,000 science centers, museums and public spaces around the world. Dedicated to education reform in and out of the classroom, the Exploratorium is a premier professional development center for educators and a creator of award-winning educational resources. Since 1969, the Exploratorium has influenced generations of entrepreneurs, artists, scientists, teachers, students, children, museum professionals and everyday doers, reaching nearly 180 million people annually from around the globe. On April 17, 2013, the Exploratorium will move to Pier 15 in the heart of San Francisco's Embarcadero, where it will celebrate a new era of experiences that encourage critical thinking and awaken wonder for generations to come. For more information, visit

About the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation

The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, established in 2000, seeks to advance scientific research, environmental conservation and patient care. The San Francisco Bay Area Science and Technology Museums area of focus supports science and technology museums and organizations to instill appreciation and understanding of science in children and their families. For more information, please visit


Jenny Slafkosky (415) 528-4367

Related Link:


Help us spread the word.

If you know someone who is interested in this field or what we are doing at the foundation, pass it along.

Get Involved

Related Stories