Beating Noise Pollution with Smart Tech

You might not think of it, but noise pollution is a threat we all have to prepare for. The World Health Organization describes noise pollution as an "underestimated threat that can cause a number of short and long-term health problems, such as, for example, sleep disturbance, cardiovascular effects, poorer work and school performance, [and] hearing impairment."

Though innovations like earplugs or noise-canceling headphones provide some relief from the extra noise, it's time we all think of beating noise pollution with smart tech. Many firms are already doing that and deserve the spotlight.

Silentium's Quite Bubble System

Israeli business Silentium is trying to beat noise pollution with its "Quiet Bubble" system, which can significantly reduce unwanted sound, even if it's very close to you, like your husbands' unwanted snores that keep you up half the night.

The technology is based around a speaker and microphone and works uniquely. To simplify the technical information, the microphone will listen to the unwanted sound, and the speaker will emit a noise that cancels it out.

Brigade Electronics' Reversing Alarms

Sometimes, you want other people to hear a noise, such as the warning sound a truck makes when it is reversing. But often, that sound is not only heard by people near the truck but also by people in the distance who don't want or need to hear the sound.

A solution to this problem is devised by Brigade Electronics, a Kent-based firm that makes reversing alarms that are only audible to people in close proximity of the vehicle. They emit sounds that dissipate after 10 meters or so. Cool, right?

Xi'an Jiaotong University in China is Considering Owl Inspired Tech

A team from Xi'an Jiaotong University in China has examined the unique features of owl wings to inform a new airfoil design to reduce this trailing-edge noise. It was mentioned in a new study published in Physics of Fluids.

The author Xiao Min Liu stated, "Nocturnal owls produce about 18 decibels less noise than other birds at similar flight speeds due to their unique wing configuration. Moreover, when the owl catches prey, the shape of the wings is also constantly changing, so the study of the wing edge configuration during owl flight is of great significance."

The researchers conducted several studies using noise calculation and analysis software applied to airfoil designs with features inspired by the serrated edges found on nocturnal owl wings. They found that the noise was suppressed and that the asymmetric serrations had a greater effect than symmetric ones.

However, previous studies have found that although effective, noise reduction in rotating machinery is not universal and depends on the final application.

Liu stated, "At present, the blade design of rotating turbomachinery has gradually matured, but the noise reduction technology is still at a bottleneck. The noise reduction capabilities of conventional sawtooth structures are limited, and some new non-smooth trailing-edge structures need to be proposed and developed to further tap the potential of bionic noise reduction."

Read more about noise pollution here.

Also, read which is the world's noisiest city over here


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