Noisy Neighborhoods Made Quieter With Sono Noise Canceling Device

PHOTO: Sono is a noise canceling device that attaches to a window.

People love New York City partially because it's the city that never sleeps. But a city active 24 hours a day also means it's producing noise 24 hours a day, making it for many the city that can't sleep.

Traffic, construction, loud guys playing dominoes. Sometimes, silence in the city is like a permanent parking spot: a luxury that most city dwellers can only dream of.

Sono, created by Rudolf Stefanich, is looking to give people some peace and quiet. The circular device attaches to a window to get rid of the unwelcome noises outside the apartment. However, city people may have to wait a long time before it hits stores, as it's still only a prototype product as this stage.

According to Stefanich's description of Sono, the product acts like a set of noise-cancelling headphones. The device comes with a microphone that detects and analyzes the noise outside the window. It then plays back that noise, but out of phase. When the actual noise and Sono's noise interact with each other, they cancel each other out. It's like adding +1 and -1, where the sum is 0.

Unlike headphones, Sono will offer multiple settings for users to customize what they want to hear in the apartment. Complete silence isn't for everyone. Those that want a bit of nature in their concrete jungle can set Sono to broadcast chirping birds or waterfalls. But on its most basic setting, the prototype claims to significantly reduce noise and be more than 10 times quieter than rooms without Sono.

While it hasn't made it's way to production yet, Sono's prospects look good. Stefanich's device was nominated for this year's James Dyson award, a design competition for college students whose winner will be announced next week. And yes, the competition is sponsored by the guy who made bagless vacuum cleaners.

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