Acoustically effective windows that protect you from noisy streets and airports.
Another week, another proptechaweek. Just like last week this post will be a chapter in our “Better Living Through Proptech”-series. This week we will focus on noise reduction. Noise is a big influence on human wellbeing and DeNoize is coming up with a technical solution that can help transform your home into a personal sound bubble.
DeNoize created technology that turns windows, which are traditionally the part of the building through which most of the outdoor noise seeps through, into a noise-canceling device. This way the windows achieve a 90% reduction of the amplitude of incoming noise, turning your building into a quiet zone.
The DeNoize active noise cancellation tech integrates inside any window frame, converting the glass windows into active speakers that will cancel outside noise by superimposing an anti-phase sound signal in real-time.
imagery by DeNoize
Raised sound levels for prolongued periods can cause elevated blood pressure, increased heart rates and trigger changes in mental state or increase cholesterol. The awareness that noise is a health hazard is surely rising, as is the willingness of regulators to step in and provide recommendations on acceptable exposure levels.
Combining these recommendations with growing urbanization leads to the need for technological solutions to allow to build noise-free dwellings in close proximity of railways, highways, airports, and each other.
DeNoize provides an interesting take on this problem focussing on the low-frequency sounds, frequencies that double or triple layers of glass aren’t insulating efficiently. Because it being a combination of hard- and software, the solution should also be very adaptable to the particular source of nuisance and of changing environmental circumstances.
There is a lot to like about this idea, but with any technological innovation, there are also risks involved and questions unanswered. For example: How long does the technology stay fit-for-duty? Traditionally windows are rarely changed, nor do they need a lot of upkeep (apart from the occasional cleansing). How do you service a window with a broken integrated actuator?
If speakers can be used as microphones questions about privacy could be raised, in this room, it’s not the walls, but the windows that have ears…
And then the biggest risk, god forbid windows-as-a-service.
DeNoize was founded in 2018 by Aman Jindal, who earlier started a company creating a local social network, and acts as the CEO, Olivier Schevin, the CTO with a background in active noise cancellation technologies. In 2019 they took part in the Yes!Delft tech incubator. In 2020 they won a prestigious Accenture Blue Tulip Award in the Living&Working category. Right now they are working together with NSG Pilkington to get their product to market, and they are working with Schiphol airport to mitigate the acoustic inconvenience caused by the airport.
The soundproofing industry isn’t very high-tech nor sexy. It mostly comes down to adding more material that can block or absorb the sound waves and sealing air gaps (which is probably a good idea from an ecological point-of-view anyway). Adding additional panes of glass or acoustic glass results in extra weight and comes with a significant upfront cost. With acoustical panels or acoustic paint you can probably mitigate the effect of sound that comes in but that’s maybe a little too late, and soundproof curtains are only effective while also blocking incoming light (read last week’s issue to find out why that is a bad idea ;-)).
At the moment the most hight tech ways of dealing with noise are white noise machines or noise-canceling headphones. In the near future DeNoize and maybe Selentium, when they take their 'Quite Bubble 2' technology to the real estate market are the companies to watch that might bring some innovation in this space.
The Naked Scientists: noise-canceling windows
I generally dislike products and companies using the i of the iPhone naming convention, but iBUILT just might be the exception seeing how they are rethinking the real estate development process… Fan of city maps? This might be just the gift for you… Steve Wozniak has launched a new company to help ESCO’s get funded using blockchain technology….