Thursday, May 27, 2004

Get rid of the noise, bring in some funk

Get rid of the noise, bring in some funk

NYT [free subscription required] has a good article about putting noise cancellation equipment into the computer case itself.

"We make anti-noise," said Scott D. Sommerfeldt, a physicist who created a noise suppression system with his students. It is the latest example of a technology called active noise reduction, or noise cancellation, well known from its use in headphones designed to block out the low rumble of jet engines.

The sound waves engineered by Dr. Sommerfeldt are out of phase with sound waves from the fan and thus they cancel each other out, substantially reducing fan noise.

One interesting result of cancelling noise imperfectly could be that

While it may be possible to reduce the sound substantially at the microphone, he said, the noise level could increase farther away, where someone might be sitting.

pretty neat. While a lot of newer smaller computers are pretty quiet, bigger cases that come with some custom-built machines are rather loud. I have two of those in my house, and it gets loud. Glad to see that someone is working on an interesting approach to the problem.


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