The active room

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At my core, I am an inventor. I love nothing more than to be given a challenge—a problem—that needs a solution and the freedom to invent a new way to solve that problem. One of the greatest joys I have experienced is being part of a team of engineers that can take an idea and make it a product. My only regret is not having an unlimited sized team that could work on multiple problems at once. I suppose it is the dilemma of all like-minded people.

One idea in search of the resources to make it a reality is the active room where the interior surfaces are not reflective acoustic mirrors, as they are in a normal room. Instead, each surface is acoustically active and can be controlled. We see examples of this idea in modern aircraft, especially those of Boeing.  Their engineers have built active noise cancellation into the plane’s interior walls so that they act like the microphone/headphone contraptions passengers routinely wear to keep noise out.

Interior walls are both benefits and curses. They keep unwanted sounds out while keeping undesirable reflections in. What would happen if we made them a type of loudspeaker fed by in-room microphones? I suspect it would enable us to create amazing spaces and not just for audiophiles wanting better sound. Imagine the environments and moods you could create within your home if the walls reproduced pre-recorded outdoor spaces with streams and birds. And I don’t mean just playing back the sounds of nature, but actually placing you in that acoustic space as if the room were acres big.

It is an interesting concept, one I hope to be able to tackle someday or use if someone else beats me to the punch.

I hope they do.