Noise pollution is a serious concern particularly in urban area. It affects the mental well being of urban dwellers. Obviously, if you are an air-con person and couldn’t care less about utility bill, it wouldn’t bother you the slightest. But for those who cares, and prefer open windows, a new development by Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore may have the answer.
Taking a page off noise-canceling headphones, the research team over at NTU has developed a noise-canceling window that can reduce the urban traffic noises coming through an open window.
The concept is pretty much the same as noise-canceling headphones. In other words, speakers are used to generate frequency to cancel out the frequency of the noise picked up by, in this case, sensors.
However, the development is basing on the fact that, in Singapore, most residential homes have security grilles installed. The researchers outfitted the security grille with 24 outward-facing small speakers in an 8×3 grid. As the sensor placed outside the window detects the frequency of the noise from the outside, the speakers will emit sound at the same frequency to cancel out the noise.
It is not perfect, but for now, it is possible to reduce the sound coming through an open window by up to 10 decibels.
It also not perfect because, the speakers, which are 4.6 cm in diameter, can be rather obtrusive and rather unsightly. But it is start and there is a possibility that the speakers could be integrated into the security grill, making noise-canceling window a reality.
The advancement in speaker development is key too, to allow smaller speakers to move large volume of air for low frequency sounds.
If you interested in this development which, btw, has been in the works for a number of years now, you can read up the paper published recently on nature.com.