Why it Could be Curtains for Noisy Neighbours at Last

March 16, 2009

LONDON, March 16 /PRNewswire/ — Have you ever been plagued by other
people’s noise, whether it’s next door’s booming stereo, or incessant chatter
from colleagues next to you? The solution could lie in your own pocket. The
inventors of a new iPhone application say they can provide instant relief by
converting annoying noise into soothing sound.

SoundCurtain is the brainchild of Royal College of Art graduate and
founder of FutureAcoustic Andreas Raptopoulos. The young designer was
inspired when he first moved to London, one of the world’s noisiest cities.
His high tech application doesn’t block out outside noise as much as replace
it with something environmentally kinder – a highly effective sound barrier.

With more than 50% of the world’s population living in cities, personal
space is at a premium. We live with noise – in our homes, in workplaces, in
public spaces. Andreas noticed that although we fully design and control our
physical environments, effective sound control remained elusive.

Raptopoulos imagined a system that would allow its users to tune out
disturbing noise after yet another evening disturbed by his rowdy housemates:

“I was sitting in my room trying to concentrate with music and voices
coming in through the walls. I figured I’m a designer – so it’s up to me to
find a solution!”

The result is a3, remarkable technology that ‘listens to’ outside noise
using the microphone on the iPhone headset, and transforms it into relaxing
ambient sound.

The technology first came to attention in 1999, when an early prototype
won a prestigious Innovation Award. After graduating, Raptopoulos approached
a leading US office furniture manufacturer. It was here that he developed
state of the art algorithms for real-time noise masking – based on the same
principles that mp3 uses to compress sound.

“SoundCurtain doesn’t block out outside noise, as much as replace it with
something environmentally kinder,” Raptopoulos explained. “Imagine the sound
of the sea, always fluctuating. At first you listen to it, then it just fades
into the background.”

Pointing out that the technology has practical applications for both home
and office, the developer added: ” We want to take this to anyone annoyed by
noise – be whilst at work, trying to study, commuting or travelling.
Crucially, in comparison to the vast number of ‘silly apps’ vying for space
in rapidly over-crowded marketplace, this is a grown-up application – not a
game, not a toy.”

Working with multi-nationals to develop a3 as a stand-alone ‘sound
conditioning’ device, the technology has excited many key players in the
electronics and mobile industries. Following the launch on Apple handsets,
FutureAcoustic is already working on developing the application for other
mobile platforms including Nokia and Android.

Industry experts predict that across all mobile platforms, application
downloads will reach literally billions within the next year.

Notes to Editors:

FutureAcoustic is a Royal College of Art venture set up to commercialise
a3, the technology supporting SoundCurtain.

For more information please contact aine.duffy@rca.ac.uk,

SOURCE Royal College of Art

Source: newswire

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