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Technology Devices To Overcome Limitation Of Sight And Hearing

Name: Lee Jian Shing ,Wong Chun Wai , Goh Zheng Yang

Our human senses are limited. Especially for science our sense of vision is very limited. Much of the world and the universe is either too far away or too

small for us to observe with our naked eyeballs. As we so often do, we overcome our limitations with tools (ah, technology). In 1609 when Galileo capitalized on centuries of experimentation with glass optics by popularizing a practical telescope; he not only provided something that extended the human sense of sight but also opened new worlds for us to discover the very small and the very far away.

Were still at it, producing the tools scientific instrumentation to help us extend our senses into realms that we could previously only imagine. Today we can see billions of years into the past through powerful instruments such as the Kepler and Hubble Space Telescopes. We can also see the the incredibly small, down to the very molecules and atoms that make up our physical universe. Through many kinds of scientific instrumentation such as chromatography, tomography, and spectrometry (usually supported by computers) we explore our bodies, the chemistry of life, and many other things that are mostly unavailable to our normal senses. Inventions and improvements in scientific instrumentation frequently have major impact on research, technology in general, and ultimately may help to solve scientific mysteries and practical problems.

The Techonology Devices Used To Overcome The Limitation Of Sight

A microscope (from the Ancient Greek: , mikrs, "small"

and , skopen, "to look" or "see") is an instrument used to see objects that are too small for the naked eye. The science of investigating small objects using such an instrument is called microscopy. Microscopic means invisible to the eye unless aided by a microscope.
There are many types of microscopes, the most common and first to be

invented is the optical microscope which uses light to image the sample. Other major types of microscopes are the electron microscope (both the transmission electron microscope and the scanning electron microscope) and the various types of scanning probe microscope.

History of the Microscope (includes: Who invented the microscope)

During the 1st century AD (year 100), glass had been invented and the Romans were looking through the glass and testing it. They experimented with different shapes of clear glass and one

of their samples was thick in the middle and thin on the edges. They discovered that if you held one of these lenses over an object, the object would look larger.
Someone also discovered that you can focus the rays of the sun with one of these special glasses and start a fire. These early lenses were called magnifiers or burning glasses. The word

lens by the way, is derived from the latin word lentil, as they were named because they resembled the shape of a lentil bean (look up lens in a dictionary).
These lenses were not used much until the end of the 13th century when spectacle makers were producing lenses to be worn as glasses. The early simple microscopes which were really only magnifying glasses had one power, usually about 6X - 10X . One thing that was very common and interesting to look at was fleas and

other tiny insects. These early magnifiers were hence called flea glasses.
Sometime about the year 1590, two Dutch spectacle makers, Zaccharias Janssen and his father Hans started experimenting with these lenses. They put several lenses in a tube and made a

very important discovery. The object near the end of the tube appeared to be greatly enlarged, much larger than any simple magnifying glass could achieve by itself! They had just invented the compound microscope (which is a microscope that uses two or more lenses).
Galileo heard of their experiments and started experimenting on his own. He described the principles of lenses and light rays and improved both the microscope and telescope. He added a

focusing device to his microscope and of course went on to explore the heavens with his telescopes.
Anthony Leeuwenhoek of Holland became very interested in lenses while working with magnifying glasses in a dry goods store. He used the magnifying glass to count threads in woven

cloth. He became so interested that he learned how to make lenses. By grinding and polishing, he was able to make small lenses with great curvatures. These rounder lenses produced greater magnification, and his microscopes were able to magnify up to 270X!
Anthony Leeuwenhoek became more involved in science and with his new improved microscope was able to see things that no man had ever seen before. He saw bacteria, yeast, blood cells

and many tiny animals swimming about in a drop of water. From his great contributions, many discoveries and research papers, Anthony Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723) has since been called the "Father of Microscopy".
Robert Hooke, an Englishman (who is sometimes called the English Father of Microscopy), also spent much of his life working with microscopes and improved their design and

Little was done to improve the microscope until the middle of the 19th century when great strides were made and quality instruments like todays microscope emerged. Companies in

Germany like Zeiss and an American company founded by Charles Spencer began producing fine optical instruments.
Today, there are no microscope manufacturers in the US and most of the microscopes come from Germany, Japan and China. Toy plastic microscopes should be avoided as they do not

achieved the level of quality of the basic instruments with metal frames and glass lenses.
Because of foreign production, quality microscopes have become affordable for all. Zaccharias Janssen, the inventor of the microscope would marvel at the quality of even the most basic

microscopes found in schools today.

How Microscope Works

Magnifying Glass
A magnifying glass (called a hand lens in laboratory

contexts) is a convex lens that is used to produce a magnified image of an object. The lens is usually mounted in a frame with a handle (see image).
A sheet magnifier consists of many very narrow concentric

ring-shaped lenses, such that the combination acts as a single lens but is much thinner. This arrangement is known as a Fresnel lens.
The magnifying glass is an icon of detective fiction,

particularly that of Sherlock Holmes.

History of Magnifying Glass

Roger Bacon (1214 AD - 1294 AD), an English philosopher, scientist and Franciscan Friar, is credited with the invention of

what we commonly refer to today as a magnifying glass. Some research on magnifying lenses, however, had been conducted at least 200 years earlier by Arab scientist, Abu Ali Hasan ibn al-Haytham (Alhazen), who is widely regarded as the father of modern optics. Bacon most likely built upon Alhazens work in his development of the magnifying glass. Early magnifying glasses probably looked very similar to the traditional hand-held magnifying glass most of us are familiar with. They usually consisted of a glass lens and metal or wood frame. Magnifying glasses of old were mostly used by doctors and scientists. Magnifying glasses became more versatile as technology improved and demand increased. Today, there many different types of magnifiers available and numerous manufacturers. The terms magnifying glass and magnifier are somewhat synonymous. All magnifying glasses are magnifiers, but not all magnifiers are magnifying glasses. An electronic software magnifier for example is a type of magnifier, but you would probably not refer to it as a magnifying glass. From its humble beginnings over 500 years ago, the magnifying glass has become an essential tool for countless applications. They are essential for individuals with low vision conditions and extremely helpful for anyone needing just a little extra help with the fine print. They are also indispensable for a wide array of industrial, scientific and educational applications. They are vital for numerous hobbies, including sewing, model building, genealogy, art, stamp collecting, coin collecting, antiquing and much more. We invite you to tell us what you use your magnifier for!

How Magnifying Glass Works

A magnifying glass is a two-sided convex (or biconvex) lens, housed in a frame that may be attached to a

handle, stand or platform for ease of use. A convex lens bends light by bringing it in one side at one angle and sending it out the other at a different angle, forming an inverted image at the focal point of the lens. The bulge of the convex lens gathers light from a wide area and condenses it so the image on the other side is sharp and bright. The distance to the place where the image forms is called the focal length of the lens. The distance between the object viewed and the lens is the focal length of the object.
How it Works If you look through the lens at the object, you'll see an image that is right-side up and larger than the

original. This is because the simple lens of the magnifying glass is using the retina and lens of your eye to create a virtual image, that appears to be closer to the convex lens of the magnifying glass. Magnifying glasses used by people who need to measure using magnifying glasses put a scale over the item being measured, as in the linen tester, used by printers to check paper and color registers, shown above. Use a measure by laying it next to the object before using your magnifying glass.

A telescope is an instrument that aids in the observation of remote objects by collecting

electromagnetic radiation (such as visible light). The first known practical telescopes were invented in the Netherlands at the beginning of the 17th century, using glass lenses. They found use in terrestrial applications and astronomy.
Within a few decades, the reflecting telescope was invented, which used mirrors. In the 20th

century many new types of telescopes were invented, includingradio telescopes in the 1930s and infrared telescopes in the 1960s. The word telescope now refers to a wide range of instruments detecting different regions of the electromagnetic spectrum, and in some cases other types of detectors.
The word "telescope" (from the Greek , tele "far" and , skopein "to look or see";

, teleskopos "far-seeing") was coined in 1611 by the Greek mathematician Giovanni Demisiani for one of Galileo Galilei's instruments presented at a banquet at the Accademia dei Lincei.[1][2][3] In the Starry Messenger Galileo had used the term "perspicillum".

History of telescope
The earliest known working telescopes appeared in 1608 and are credited to Hans Lippershey. Among many others who claimed to have

made the discovery were Zacharias Janssen, a spectacle-maker in Middelburg, and Jacob Metius of Alkmaar. The design of these early refracting telescopes consisted of a convex objective lens and a concave eyepiece. Galileo used this design the following year. In 1611, Johannes Kepler described how a telescope could be made with a convex objective lens and a convex eyepiece lens and by 1655 astronomers such asChristiaan Huygens were building powerful but unwieldy Keplerian telescopes with compound eyepieces. Hans Lippershey is the earliest person documented to have applied for a patent for the device.[1]
Isaac Newton is credited with building the first "practical" reflector in 1668 with a design that incorporated a small flat diagonal mirror to

reflect the light to an eyepiece mounted on the side of the telescope. Laurent Cassegrain in 1672 described the design of a reflector with a small convex secondary mirror to reflect light through a central hole in the main mirror.
The achromatic lens, which greatly reduced color aberrations in objective lenses and allowed for shorter and more functional telescopes,

first appeared in a 1733 telescope made by Chester Moore Hall, who did not publicize it. John Dollond learned of Hall's invention[2][3] and began producing telescopes using it in commercial quantities, starting in 1758.
Important developments in reflecting telescopes were John Hadley's production of larger paraboloidal mirrors in 1721; the process of

silvering glass mirrors introduced by Lon Foucault in 1857;[4]and the adoption of long lasting aluminized coatings on reflector mirrors in 1932.[5] Almost all of the large optical research telescopes used today are reflectors.
The era of radio telescopes (along with radio astronomy) was born with Karl Guthe Jansky's serendipitous discovery of an astronomical

radio source in 1931. Many types of telescopes were developed in the 20th century for a wide range of wavelengths from radio to gamma-rays.

How Telescope Works

Binoculars, field glasses or binocular telescopes are a pair of identical or

mirror-symmetrical telescopes mounted side-by-side and aligned to point accurately in the same direction, allowing the viewer to use both eyes (binocular vision) when viewing distant objects. Most are sized to be held using both hands, although sizes vary widely from opera glasses to large pedestal mounted military models. Many different abbreviations are used for binoculars, including glasses, nocs, noculars, binos and bins.
Unlike a (monocular) telescope, binoculars give users a three-dimensional image: for

nearer objects the two views, presented to each of the viewer's eyes from slightly different viewpoints, produce a merged view with an impression of depth.

History if Binoculars
Jan Lippershey, an eyeglass maker in what is now Holland, applied for a 30 year patent that would grant him exclusive manufacturing rights. After testing, it was requested that Lippershey

produce an instrument that could be used by two eyes. On December 9 of 1608, the inventor announced completion of a binocular instrument. On Dec. 15, the binocular passed inspection and two more, with optics of quartz crystal, were ordered. The patent was denied, based on the argument that the instrument was already known to other parties, but Lippershey was hired as telescope maker to the State of Zeeland. Louis Bell speculates that Lippershey's instrument was likely 3 or 4 power, with an objective of an inch and one half or less in diameter. Henry King, whose History of the Telescope is more authoritative than Bell's work, agrees that Hans Lippershey applied for the patent, and was requested to produce a binocular telescope with optics of quartz, but is mute on whether the instrument was successfully completed. Quartz was known to be more difficult to work, and the request for crystal optics was dictated by the poor quality of optical glass of the era. The early desire for binocular instruments is not surprising to experienced observers of today who are familiar with the problems that monocular instruments present to critical viewing. Lippershey's customers were the very first telescope buyers, and had no experience with viewing through an eyepiece to refer to. It is easy to imagine them peering through a primitive Galilean type eyepiece of poor quality glass, and being overwhelmed with eyestrain and exhausted with fatigue from squinting. That they immediately desired a binocular instrument (without having seen or used one,) is testimony to their imagination and the primacy of binocular perception in human telescopists.

How Binoculars Works

Ultrasound scanning device

Ultrasound is an oscillating sound pressure wave with a frequency greater than the upper limit of the human hearing range.

Ultrasound is thus not separated from 'normal' (audible) sound based on differences in physical properties, only the fact that humans cannot hear it. Although this limit varies from person to person, it is approximately 20kilohertz (20,000 hertz) in healthy, young adults. Ultrasound devices operate with frequencies from 20 kHz up to several gigahertz.
Ultrasound is used in many different fields. Ultrasonic devices are used to detect objects and measure distances. Ultrasonic

imaging (sonography) is used in both veterinary medicine and human medicine. In the nondestructive testing of products and structures, ultrasound is used to detect invisible flaws. Industrially, ultrasound is used for cleaning and for mixing, and to accelerate chemical processes. Organisms such as bats and porpoises use ultrasound for locating prey and obstacles.[1]
Ultrasound image of a fetus in the womb, viewed at 12 weeks of pregnancy (bidimensional-scan) An ultrasonic examination in East Germany, 1990 Ultrasonics is the application of ultrasound. Ultrasound can be used for medical imaging, detection, measurement and cleaning.

At higher power levels, ultrasonics is useful for changing the chemical properties of substances.

History of Ultrasound scanning device

The textbook definition of ultrasound is energy generated by sound waves of 20,000 or more

vibrations per second. Ultrasound is used in a large array of imaging tools. Often used for medical diagnostics, ultrasound uses sound waves that are far above the frequency heard by the human ear. A transducer gives off the sound waves and reflected back from organs and tissues, allowing a picture of what is inside the body to be drawn on a screen. Ultrasound can be used to look for tumors, analyze bone structure, or examine the health of an unborn baby.Two researchers are noted in the history of ultrasound and medical imaging. They are: Doctor Karl Theodore Dussik of Austria, who published the first paper on medical ultrasonics in 1942, based on his research on transmission ultrasound investigation of the brain; and Professor Ian Donald of Scotland, who developed practical technology and applications for ultrasound in the 1950s.

How Ultrasound Scanning Device Works

There are ma-ny reasons to g-et an ultrasound. Perhaps you're pregnant, and your

obstetrician wants you to have an ultrasound to check on the developing baby or determine the due date.
Maybe you're having problems withblood circulatio-n in a limb or yourheart, and your

doctor has requested a Doppler ultrasound to look at the blood flow. Ultrasound has been a popular medical imaging technique for many years.
Ultrasound or ultrasonographyis a medical imaging technique that uses high

frequency sound waves and their echoes. The technique is similar to the echolocation used by bats, whales and dolphins, as well as SONAR used by submarines.
In this article, we'll look at how ultrasound works, what type of ultrasound techniques

are available and what each technique can be used for.

X-radiation (composed of X-rays) is a form of electromagnetic radiation. X-rays have a wavelength in the range of 0.01 to 10 nanometers,

corresponding to frequencies in the range 30 petahertz to 30exahertz (31016 Hz to 31019 Hz) and energies in the range 100 eV to 100 keV. The wavelengths are shorter than those of UV rays and longer than of gamma rays. In many languages, X-radiation is called Rntgen radiation, after Wilhelm Rntgen,[1] who is usually credited as its discoverer, and who had named it X-radiation to signify an unknown type of radiation. [2] Spelling of X-ray(s) in the English language includes the variants x-ray(s) and X ray(s).[3]
X-rays with photon energies above 5-10 keV (below 0.2-0.1 nm wavelength) are called hard X-rays, while those with lower energy are called soft

X-rays.[4] Due to their penetrating ability hard X-rays are widely used to image the inside of objects, e.g. in medical radiography and airport security. As a result, the term X-ray is metonymically used to refer to a radiographic image produced using this method, in addition to the method itself. Since the wavelengths of hard X-rays are similar to the size of atoms they are also useful for determining crystal structures by X-ray crystallography. By contrast, soft X-rays are easily absorbed in air and the attenuation length of 600 eV (~2 nm) X-rays in water is less than 1 micrometer.[5]
The distinction between X-rays and gamma rays is not universal. One often sees the two types of radiation separated by their origin: X-rays are

emitted by electrons, while gamma rays are emitted by the atomic nucleus.[6][7][8][9] An alternative method for distinguishing between X- and gamma radiation is on the basis of wavelength, with radiation shorter than some arbitrary wavelength, such as 1011 m, defined as gamma rays. [10] These definitions usually coincide since the electromagnetic radiation emitted by X-ray tubes generally has a longer wavelength and lower photon energy than the radiation emitted by radioactive nuclei.[6]

History of X-Rays
On 8 Nov, 1895, Wilhelm Conrad Rntgen (accidentally) discovered an image cast from

his cathode ray generator, projected far beyond the possible range of the cathode rays (now known as an electron beam). Further investigation showed that the rays were generated at the point of contact of the cathode ray beam on the interior of the vacuum tube, that they were not deflected by magnetic fields, and they penetrated many kinds of matter.A week after his discovery, Rontgen took an X-ray photograph of his wife's hand which clearly revealed her wedding ring and her bones. The photograph electrified the general public and aroused great scientific interest in the new form of radiation. Rntgen named the new form of radiation X-radiation (X standing for "Unknown"). Hence the term X-rays (also referred as Rntgen rays, though this term is unusual outside of Germany).

How X-Rays Works

X-rays were found to be able to penetrate through materials of light atoms like

flesh. The heavier atoms like metal absorb them. A beam of high energy electrons crashes into a metal target and x-rays are produced. A filter near the xray source blocks the low energy rays so only the high energy rays pass through a patient toward a sheet of film. Along with the sheet of film, a second sheet of film prevents the scattered x-rays from fogging the picture. Calcium in bones is considered a type of metal and when photographic film is placed on the body, this allows the technician to take the picture and an x-ray is developed to solve or analyze the problem. These rays were found to be harmful to the skin and soon new ways of medical imagers were developed.

The Techonology Devices Used To Overcome The Limitation Of Hearing

The stethoscope is an acoustic medical device for auscultation, or listening to the

internal sounds of an animal or human body. It is often used to listen to lung and heart sounds. It is also used to listen to intestines and blood flow in arteries and veins. In combination with a sphygmomanometer, it is commonly used for measurements of blood pressure. Less commonly, "mechanic's stethoscopes" are used to listen to internal sounds made by machines, such as diagnosing a malfunctioning automobile engine by listening to the sounds of its internal parts. Stethoscopes can also be used to check scientific vacuum chambers for leaks, and for various other small-scale acoustic monitoring tasks. A stethoscope that intensifies auscultatory sounds is called phonendoscope.

History of stethoscope
The word stethoscope is derived from the two Greek words, stethos (chest) and scopos (examination). Apart from

listening to the heart and chest sounds, it is also used to hear bowel sounds and blood flow noises in arteries and veins.
Rene-Theophile-Hyacinth Lannec appears to be the inventor of the stethoscope in 1816 when he used a wooden tube to

listen to chest sounds. It was mono-aural and later models were made of metal and used to listen to foetal heart sounds. Some 20 years later a binaural model was developed using rubber tubes and ear pieces. Most devices had a bell shaped device used for low frequency sounds and a diaphragm which was more suited to higher pitched sounds.
These were often separate, but later in the 20th. century they were combined, ie two sided. A spring to press the ear

pieces to the ears came later. In 1963 Dr. David Littmann patented a much improved version. It had a single short tube connected to a two sided stethoscope which bifurcated into the ear pieces. The physics seem to be based on vibrations which the chest and other noises produce. The bell receives the skin vibrations which produce acoustic pressure waves which are transmitted to the listener's ears. The diaphragm reduces the low pitched vibrations. About 10 years ago several types of electronic stethoscopes were introduced. This is similar to placing a microphone on the chest wall, but has circuits to reduce unwanted adventitial sounds.

How Stethoscope Works

The doctor holds the stethoscope against the patient's body,

usually to listen to the breath or heartbeat. When the heart beats or the lung fills with air, it produces small sound vibrations through the body. These vibrations are picked up and amplified by the diaphragm. The sound passes into the tube, which transfers it into the doctor's earpieces. There are also electrical stethoscopes, which use a kind of microphone to pick up and amplify the sound. Because electrical stethoscopes can lose or distort parts of the sound, however, most doctors use the acoustic version.

A loudspeaker (or "speaker") is an electroacoustic transducer that produces sound in

response to an electrical audio signal input. Non-electrical loudspeakers were developed as accessories to telephone systems, but electronic amplification by vacuum tube made loudspeakers more generally useful. The most common form of loudspeaker uses a paper cone supporting a voice coil electromagnet acting on a permanent magnet, but many other types exist. Where high fidelity reproduction of sound is required, multiple loudspeakers may be used, each reproducing a part of the audible frequency range. Miniature loudspeakers are found in devices such as radio and TV receivers, and many forms of music players. Larger loudspeaker systems are used for music, sound reinforcement in theatres and concerts, and in public address systems.

History of Loudspeaker
1874 - Ernst W. Siemens was the first to describe the "dynamic" or moving-coil transducer, with a circular

coil of wire in a magnetic field and supported so that it could move axially. He filed his U. S. patent application for a "magneto-electric apparatus" for "obtaining the mechanical movement of an electrical coil from electrical currents transmitted through it" on Jan. 20, 1874, and was granted patent No. 149,797 Apr. 14, 1874. However, he did not use his device for audible transmission, as did Alexander G. Bell who patented the telephone in 1876. After Bell's patent was granted, Siemens applied for German patent No. 2355, filed Dec. 14, 1877, for a nonmagnetic parchment diaphragm as the sound radiator of a moving-coil transducer. The diaphragm could take the form of a cone, with an exponentially flaring "morning glory" trumpet form. This is the first patent for the loudspeaker horn that would be used on most phonographs players in the acoustic era. His German patent was granted July 30, 1878 and his British patent No. 4685 was granted Feb. 1, 1878.

How Loudspeaker Works

Hearing Aids
A hearing aid is an electroacoustic device which

typically fits in or behind the wearer's ear, and is designed to amplify and modulate sound for the wearer. Earlier devices, known as ear trumpets or ear horns,[1][2] were passive funnel-like amplification cones designed to gather sound energy and direct it into the ear canal. Similar devices include the bone anchored hearing aid, and cochlear implant.

History of Hearing Aids

The first and most primitive period was the acoustic era in which objects

such as horns, trumpets, and speaking tubes were used to amplify sound (2). As early as the thirteenth century, animal horns were adopted as a device to aid humans to hear more clearly. The idea of the horn stuck through several centuries until in 1673 Dekker illustrated a very simple funnel device. Later in 1692, Nuck created a more complex device that consisted of a trumpet with a coiled section between a horn and the ear tip (3). More work was completed to further progress on trumpet in the seventeenth and especially the eighteenth century. A tin trumpet that appeared in an issue of the William V. Willis & Co. catalog (1930) was stated to be the best known and most used of all hearing devices.(4)

How Hearing Aids Works

The microphone picks up sounds and sends them to an amplifier that makes them louder. The

hearing aid will make some pitches of sound louder than others, depending on the shape of the hearing loss. Your audiologist uses the hearing aid's internal controls or computer programming to adjust the sound for your child's needs. After sounds are made louder, they go through the earhook to an earmold that is custom made for your child. The earhook is a small plastic piece that holds the hearing aid on the ear. Earmolds are made from a mold or impression of your child's ear. They are made from soft materials and fit in the outer ear and ear canal. Since it is so important for earmolds to fit snuggly in the ear, they will need to be replaced as your baby grows. When children are small, earmolds may need to be replaced every 2-6 months. They are available in a variety of colors, including skin tones and bright ones.

Public Address System (PA system)

A public address system (PA system) is an electronic sound amplification and distribution system with a

microphone, amplifier andloudspeakers, used to allow a person to address a large public, for example for announcements of movements at large and noisy air and rail terminals.
The term is also used for systems which may additionally have a mixing console, and amplifiers and loudspeakers

suitable for music as well as speech, used to reinforce a sound source, such as recorded music or a person giving a speech or distributing the sound throughout a venue or building.
Simple PA systems are often used in small venues such as school auditoriums, churches, and small bars. PA

systems with many speakers are widely used to make announcements in public, institutional and commercial buildings and locations. Intercom systems, installed in many buildings, have microphones in many rooms allowing the occupants to respond to announcements.
Sound reinforcement systems and PA systems may use some similar components, but with differing application,

although the distinction between the two is not clear-cut. Sound reinforcement systems are for live music or performance, whereas PA systems are primarily for reproduction of speech.[1] In Britain any PA system is sometimes colloquially referred to as a Tannoy, after the company of that name now owned by TC Electronic Group, which supplied a great many of the PA systems used in the past.[2]

History of PA system
The public address system in its current form was

invented by Edwin Jensen and Peter Pridham of Magnavox after they successfully began experimenting with sound reproduction in the 1910s. Four years later, in 1915, they built the first ever dynamic loudspeaker that boasted a 2.5 cm voice coil, a 7.6 cm corrugated diaphragm and a giant horn measuring a whopping 86 cm. No mean feat as the electromagnet created a flux field of no less than 11,000 G.

How PA System Works

A simple PA (public address) system consists of amicrophone, an amplifier and one or more

speakers. Whenever you have those three components, you have the potential for feedback. Feedback occurs when the sound from the speakers makes it back into the microphone and is reamplified and sent through the speakers again, like this:
Imagine, for example, that you place the microphone in front of the speaker as shown. Now you

tap on the microphone. The sound of the tap goes through the amplifier, comes out the speaker, re-enters the microphone, etc. This loop happens so quickly that it creates its own frequency, which we hear as a howling sound. The distance between the mike and the speakers has a lot to do with the frequency of the howling, because that distance controls how quickly the sound can loop through the system.
You can actually try this out on your computer if your computer has speakers and a microphone.

In Windows, you need to enable the microphone and speakers using the volume control (which you can access by double clicking on the speaker icon in the system tray).