Finally! Peace and quiet for air travelers
Company develops noise-cancelling technology for airline seat headrests.
A new technology may soon allow passengers to block out the annoying noises around them on an airplane.
The device was designed to be embedded in headrests of airplane seats, and creates a virtual bubble around a passenger’s head, blocking out unwanted surrounding noise – a crying baby, a loud seatmate, even the loud snoring of the gentleman behind you in seat 23A.
“Silentium’s noise reduction solutions focus on improving the quality of life... eliminating the stress, discomfort and health problems associated with exposure to noise,” said Silentium CEO Yossi Barath.
Conceptual drawing of Quiet Bubble. (Photo: Courtesy of Silentium)
Similar to noise-cancelling headphones, the technology involves a number of microphones and speakers to capture – and eliminate – noise. The microphones amplify whatever ambient sound is coming from outside the quiet zone. Then, the noise-cancelling circuitry creates an exact 180-degree fingerprint of the offending noise. The speakers then play the anti-sound. When the sounds occur together, they cancel each other out.
Silentium also offers another type of microchip technology that cancels out noise at the source, rather than from the surrounding environment. This kind of technology has been used by manufacturers of home appliances, office equipment and HVAC systems, who have already embedded the chip in their products. The chip can even be purchased by companies and applied to their existing products, to reduce the noise made by humming fans of electronic equipment.
Silentium showcased its products at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in 2013 and was picked as one of the best products at the show. They offer similar “Quiet Bubbles” for automobiles and hope to extend the technology to each passenger of a car talking on their cellphones, for instance.
With the new Quiet Bubble, frequent travelers are looking forward to the integration of the technology on planes. Rob Kutner, a frequent traveler and staff writer for the "Conan" show on TBS, is excited by the technology. “Having a sound-free bubble around on my head for one of those killer red-eye flights sounds so appealing," he told From The Grapevine. "I want to get one for the rest of my life as well.”
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