How do you get can phones to go around corners?
Note: If you want to get right to the point, I start talking about my solution in the third paragraph.
As should be immediately apparent, can phones (or, as Wikipedia calls them, tin can telephones) are extremely awesome. There may still be some people who are under the impression that your voice can't go into a can, through a string, and out another can, but I assure you that it most certainly is possible. I would devote more space to telling you what sort of materials make a can phone work best, but I don't have access to tons of materials, and it's hard for me to tell anyway. (I hear that paper cups are supposed to be better than cans, though.) There is one problem, however, that I can solve.
One mystery has plagued can phone enthusiasts for centuries: how to get the can phones to go around corners. Part of the appeal of can phones is hearing people when it would otherwise be impossible, but when an indoor setting is chosen, it's hard to get far enough away from the person you're trying to talk with in order for it to be worth it (if you restrict yourself from going around corners, that is). Seeking the answer to this burning question, I scoured the Internet trying to find some way to overcome this hurtle. As it turns out, no one knows, or at least no one who had posted anything on the Internet. Forced to use my own brain-power, I went to work on solving the conundrum. I thought and thought and thought but to no avail. Overcome by the hopelessness of the situation, I gave up and turned to more fruitful pursuits. However, one day in 2012, my can phone expertise was called upon to create an amazing exhibit for a class activity to be later displayed. Apparently, the resting period between my abandonment of the problem and my rediscovery of how amazing can phones are rejuvenated my thought process and allowed me to finally put the timeless question to rest.
The answer everyone has been waiting for is finally here! The way I discovered to make can phones go around corners involves creating a loop in the string, twisting it a few times, and anchoring it to some other object. (To clarify, I added the picture on the right.) If you think about it, it makes sense: the vibrating string doesn't touch something that doesn't vibrate at any point (the chair doesn't vibrate but the twist does). After a bunch of testing at the expense of the near-strangulation of passers-by, I noticed that the sound diminishes hardly more than a can phone strung in one direction. The string doesn't have to be twisted too many times (you could get away with once or twice), but I like to be extra sure it will work. Really, you could probably just tie a knot to one part of the string with a different piece of string and then tie the other end to something (but it seems to me that I tried something similar and it didn't work quite as well). One of the best parts is that it doesn't really matter how sharp of an angle you make with the string (although trying to keep it from being too sharp is probably a good idea).
Since this web page is devoted to saying how can phones go around corners, I'll add the other way to accomplish it I found on the Internet months later (Ha! I beat them to it!). I haven't personally tried this, but it seems pretty likely to work unlike the few other ridiculous methods I can dig up. Their method was to use extra cans to hold the string away from the corner (but it won't work if the opening of the can touches the string). I included a picture because, as it turns out, the website can no longer be accessed (by me anyway). However, I did find can (paper cup) phones that use one of the methods I saw on the same general site here. If you're tricky (and likely use tape), you can pull off the same thing with one can (supposedly; once again, I haven't tested it even though I have a picture).
I hope this has helped you be able to rest in peace now that the nagging question has finally been answered. If you'd like to use my pictures or something, you can feel free.
—Your can phone enthusiast, Robert Benson