Noise-Cancelling Windows With Piezoelectric Patches
There's nothing like a nice, thick wall to shield you from noisy urban environments. Windows pose a real problem because of the way they transmit vibration.
"A window acts like a loudspeaker and a membrane. If you control the vibration of the window, you can control transmitted noise in such a way that it is not acting like a membrane or a loudspeaker," said Thilo Bein, Fraunhofer Institute for Structural Durability and System Reliability LBF in Darmstadt, Germany.
Simple expedients like using triple-pane windows can help, but they are expensive; it would be better to eliminate the vibration. Bein and his research team have developed a way to make a single-pane window damp out vibration by about fifty percent.
Here's how it works. Stamp-sized patches of a piezoelectric ceramic are attached to the window at regular intervals; they are connected to each other and to a controller by fine wires. When a sound-generated vibration moves the window, the patches sense it.
The controller then delivers a specific electric charge back to the patches, causing them to vibrate at a phase that cancels out the sound vibration. In experiments, 90-100 decibel noise was reduced by fifty percent. Bein estimates that these windows would be commercially available within five years; the patches would be more fully integrated into the window (and hopefully transparent).
Science fiction writers of the 1950's were very concerned with noise reduction, apparently. For instance, in his 1957 story Silence Please, Arthur C. Clarke wrote about the Fenton Silencer:
It consisted of a microphone, a special amplifier and a pair of loud speakers. Any sound that happened to be about was picked up by the mike, amplified and inverted so it was exactly out of phase with the original noise. Then it was pumped out of the speakers, the original wave and the new one cancelled out, and the net result was silence...
(Read more about Clarke's Fenton Silencer)
SF fans will doubtless remember the hush corner from Heinlein's Double Star as well as the legendary cone of silence from Dune.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 5/1/2007)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )
Related News Stories -
ROAM Robotics Skiing Exoskeleton
'The real genius in the design is that you don't have to control the suit; you just wear it...' - Robert Heinlein, 1959.
IRL Glasses Block Screens, Limit Vision To Real Life
'If you couldn't see the ads, how would you know what was fashionable?' - John Varley, 1977.
The Hammock Caravan And Italo Calvino's Octavia
'Now I will tell you how Octavia, the spider-web city, is made.'
Americans! Stay Indoors To Save Energy
'Those funny old days, when men went for change of air instead of changing the air in their rooms!' - EM Forster, 1909.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Spicy Tomatoes Created With Genetic Engineering
How about mashed potatoes and brown gravy?
Driverless Hotel Rooms Predicted In 1828
'Did you never see a moving house before?'
Yandex Self-Driving Taxi Is Very Smooth
'The big car was slowing down, its computer brain sensing an exit ahead.'
Shrimp Actually Made Of Algae Is A New Wave Food
Bring in that crop algae.
Cosplay Style Wings Could Work On Moon
'They're lovely! - titanalloy struts as light and strong as bird-bones...'
Tesla Model 3 Has Outside Speaker Grille
Robert Heinlein does it again.
Arizona Luddites Attack Self-Driving Vehicles
'Trucks don't drive by themselves...' Or do they?
Organaut! Russians 3D Print Living Tissue In Space
'For a while your colonists will have to come up [to orbit] to the Hospital...'
WINE Spacecraft To Extract Water From Asteroids
'Yes, strangely enough there was still sufficient water beneath the surface of Vesta.'
Japanese Swordsmiths Take On Asteroids
'... a tiny, rocket-powered projectile, drove towards the mysterious bulk.'
Saturn's Rings To Vanish, Let's Mine Them While We Can
'...the valuable shards of what had once been satellites.'
Humans Could Take Up A LOT Less Space
We'd have a lot more room for gardening...
Implosion Fabrication Shrinks 3D Objects To Nanoscale
'Carter had watched miniaturization a hundred times...'
GMO Houseplant Cleans Your Air
Removes compounds too small to be captured by a HEPA filter.
Nova Meat Can 3D Print Your Dinner
Printing out chicken nuggets.
MIT Scientists Create 'Peek-a-Boo Prober' From Jetsons
Well, George, it's the latest thing.
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories