Rattled by Chatter? Try a Personal Sound Bubble
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Because silence is golden.
By Maroosha Muzzaffar and Pallabi Munsi
The world has changed drastically over the past few months — and if you’re like us, you probably get to/have to work from home. Which could be great, if only the kitchen garbage disposal wasn’t doing what it does quite so often. Same with the vacuum cleaner, leaf blower, car alarms, cats, kids playing in the street, kids playing in the next room, ad noisey-em. If only they weren’t so … loud.
On top of that now you can’t even go to the neighborhood café for a few hours to get that project outline to your boss. And AirPods on full blast are not a long-term solution if you enjoy being able to hear.
Enter Silentium. Last year, the Israeli company hit the Consumer Electronics Show and introduced technology designed to create something to immunize you against distraction: a personal sound bubble.
So now it’s possible to create your very own noiseless space in the comfort of your own home. Meaning you could sit at your dining room table — provided it’s equipped with Silentium’s technology — and within that sound bubble you wouldn’t be able to hear much of anything outside of it.
What are your kids or partners or parents squabbling about? What squabble? You have no idea because you can’t hear anything, literally — it’s the textbook definition of blissfully unaware.
“You can create a silent zone — about half a meter — around your head,” says Silentium CEO Yoel Naor. Creating personal audio experiences for every user, as well as personal listening zones, the technology, according to Naor, can be worked into the desk you’re sitting at or the chair you’re sitting in.
And to counter creeping accusations of being generally antisocial when you’re blocking out the world, it should be noted that Naor’s idea for the technology didn’t really emerge from a desire just to be left the hell alone.
“Our belief is that music is something you should enjoy with family and friends,” he says, “and shouldn’t be juxtaposed with the mind-numbing noise you’re hearing all day long.”
Perfect. So, how exactly does the technology work?
The tech focuses sound transmissions toward one space while minimizing surrounding sound by using a signal-processing algorithm that cancels those extraneous sound transmissions. Unwanted noises and sounds? Gone. What you need or want to listen to? Right there in your personal sound bubble.
As working from home becomes the new norm, this technology could come in handy, giving people some much-needed quiet time and a space to have it in, no headphones required.
“It doesn’t seem so much that [the technology itself] is that revolutionary,” says audio journalist Matt Harper. “But using the technology to customize the air around you? Nice twist.”
While the technology is presently only available for aircraft and cars, Naor says that it can be used with “audio infrastructures, such as the built-in speakers within a car,” or used with speakers strategically placed inside a seat or a wall. For airplanes, this could mean not having to listen to the music that the passenger sitting next to you is listening to. In factories, it could mean not having the noise of machinery filling your head.
As for other consumer goods companies, Naor says Silentium is open to working with them. “Since we look at only the technology, we can’t really say if the consumer goods and electronics goods companies are planning to add this technology to their goods, but they can surely reach out to us anytime they want,” he says.
The only drawback to the peace and quiet of your personal sound bubble is that now you’ll have to search for another excuse as to why you didn’t get that project done.