For regular people, unwanted noise is a scourge and a health hazard. But for Silentium, a startup based in central Israel, it’s the sound of opportunity. For more than a decade, Silentium’s engineers have been working on a computer chip that can wipe out unwanted noise by cancelling its sound waves.
The hush Silentium’s chip produces can seem like magic. But the trick is no sleight of hand. The effect is the result of complex algorithms grounded in physics and statistics. “Noise has a known statistical behavious, to some degree,” says Yossi Barath, Silentium’s CEO. “The more that behaviour is known, the better we can reduce the noise.”
Silentium’s solution comes in three parts. First, a microphone picks up ambient noise. The Silentium chip then analyses the noise and figures out the oppostie acoustical pattern. Finally, a speaker delivers a mirror image of the sound that the microphone is hearing. The sound waves cancel each other out, and in place of a deafening rumble, there is silence.
The company has already gained acceptance in data centres, where its chip is valued for its ability to reduce server noise without affecting airflow. Silentium has also found a receptive audience in the transportation industry. Barath said the company is working with a variety of automotive and aerospace seat makers who are gearing up to manufacture noise-cancelling headrests.
Barath envisions the “quiet bubble” eventually becoming a consumer product, built in to pillows and headboards to combat snoring and other sleep disruptors.
Silentium has raised $18 (S$23) million from investors like SMI/Naor, an investment firm based in Toronto and Terra Venture Partners, based in Israel. Barath is currently raising a third round of funding.
Originally reported by Forbes