We all nowadays suffer from disruptive noise whether passing by a construction site down the street or hearing people chanting during office hours. The inflexible sound always holds a chance of completely damaging the hearing capacity of a person. Thus to overcome such an issue, the University of Illinois‘ researchers have come up with a new technology that will help to overcome the noisy frustration.

Many of you might already be familiar with headphones and earbuds which are the most common devices to be used to as noise canceling technology. Such devices emit anti-noise signals to lower down the effects of external sounds. The major drawback of such devices is that the time available for such headphones to produce anti-noise signals is very short, thereby, resulting in some noise to pass by. Therefore it is necessary for all these gadgets must cover the entire ear with a noise-canceling material. Also weaning such ear-blocking devices for longer duration is not considered as a healthy move and can even be destructive.

Sheng Shen, a Ph.D. candidate and lead author in Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) and a Ph.D. candidate mentioned in a statement that “The goal of the company is not to block the ear canal”. “They foresee their behind-the-ear device as a product which can achieve the success of the noise cancellation among other best earbuds or headphones that are currently available in the market.”

The research behind the production of the noise cancellation product involves merging noise cancellation technology with that of the wireless IoT networks. The process involves placing a microphone in such an environment where it will first sense the sounds and then sends the information over wireless signals to an earpiece. The wireless technology enabled earphone will be able to receive the information much faster than the actual sounds as wireless signals travel a million times faster than the sound signals.

Romit Roy Choudhury, an ECE Professor and Shen’s advisor mentioned in a statement that it is much identical to thunder and lightning – as lighting is reported much sooner than the thunder giving time to the people to prepare in advance for the loud roar. He further said, “Identically our ear device has much more time through which a better anti-noise signal can be produced; this is possible because our ear gets sounds information in advance.”

Illinois researchers Finds A New Way To Cancel Noise Without Ear-blocking Headphones image 1

The figure above shows a copy of how this technology would perform. The process starts by placing an IoT microphone away in order to cancel noise (Alice). He/she can do that by putting the device at a certain distance, for example on the office door. Now, the IoT device will pick the noise in the hallway from her co-workers’ conversation and further transmit it to Alice’s earpiece with the help of a wireless connection. The earpiece will later receive the actual sound and thus because of this lead time, it is possible to fully cancel the noise. Moreover, with the device, there will be no need to block the ear canal now.