I'm not about to predict how far Belgium will advance in the World Cup in Brazil next month, but the country could be making a lot of noise in the bleachers. The Belgian-designed diabolica might be the noisemaker of the 2014 games, if the manufacturer's claims of a "flood of orders coming from all over the world" are to be believed.
The trumpet-like device has been a big hit at soccer games in Belgium, and it has an opportunity to repeat that success in Brazil, given that the vuvuzela that gained global notoriety at the 2010 games is most definitely not welcome and that the home-grown noisemaker, the caxirola, has run into some problems of its own, as we chronicled in an article earlier this month, "Remember the vuvuzela? Meet the caxirola."
Named after Belgium's Red Devils soccer team, the diabolicas are molded from polypropylene at a plant in Madrid and assembled and packed in Mons, Belgium.
Inventors David dos Santos and Fabio Lavalle claim that the sound is sweeter to the ears than the vuvuzela, but you can judge for yourself by watching the video below. It is also infinitely more transportable than the vuvzela, which typically measures about two feet, since the diabolica collapses to approximately five inches in length.
Dos Santos and Lavalle are mum about the sound-making technology, which they say is produced by a vibrating membrane that was inspired by how birds make sounds. "The membrane is the secret," Dos Santos told the Daily Star. The Belgian instrument has a higher pitch, more like a horn, and can make a trilling sound when the stem is pumped. At 98 decibels, it is nearly as loud as a vuvuzela but requires less lung power, its makers say, according to the Daily Star.
Almost 300,000 diabolicas have been sold since the beginning of the year, and thousands are being produced daily to satisfy demand leading up to the World Cup, which begins June 12. Dos Santos and Lavalle hope to sell one million of the collapsible PE horns by the time the World Cup wraps up on July 13 in Rio de Janeiro's lengendary Maracana stadium.