Concept device could kill city noise from disturbing your home

Credit: Sono

Living in a metropolis has plenty of perks: convenient metro systems, plenty of gourmet dining choices and endless shopping destinations. But with all that activity comes a whole lot of noise pollution, a nearly unavoidable side effect of living with millions of other people. That noise is likely to permeate your overpriced apartment via your windows, unless you've gone through the trouble of retrofitting it with the soundproof kind, which is yet another inconvenient headache.

Yet, don't lose hope for peace and quiet, because it might soon be possible to finally get some with the help of a prototype noise-cancelling device. Using a technology similar to the kind found in noise-cancelling headphones, Sono (not to be confused with the audio company Sonos) nullifies obnoxious earaches while filtering out sounds you'd actually want to listen to, like chirping birds or a passing ice-cream truck. Sound preferences can be adjusted via a circular scroll panel on the face of the device.

The window-mounted device uses a high-frequency laser microphone to pick up bothersome sounds, then sends out sounds of its own at 180 degrees, so sound is cancelled out before it even reaches your window. Its included suction cup mount has an "energy antenna" embedded inside to gather electromagnetic activity (such as from Wi-Fi signals) to translate for use as power, along with its own internal battery.

Currently, Sono is still in prototype stage and is not ready for production, though it is a finalist for this year's James Dyson Awards. Should it win, proceeds from the prize money will no doubt go into the commercial realization of the device.

James Dyson Awards, via Digital Trends

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