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科学美国人60秒:扬声器系统阻断城市噪音

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Speaker System Blocks City Noise

扬声器系统阻断城市噪音

Restaurants, schools, dentist offices are all keeping more windows open to increase ventilation—and, hopefully, to decrease the chances of encountering the coronavirus. But letting in fresh air also lets in more noise.

餐馆、学校、牙医诊所都在开窗户,以增加通风,并希望以此降低感染冠状病毒的几率。但是,让新鲜空气进入也会让更多的噪音进入。

Now researchers have come up with a device that’s like noise-cancelling headphones—but for a building.

现在研究人员已经发明了一种类似于降噪耳机的设备——不过只是用于建筑物。

“It works on the same principle, so it detects noise that’s coming into the windows and then is cancelling the noise.”

“它的工作原理是一样的,可以检测进入窗户的噪音,然后消除这些噪音。”

Bhan Lam, an acoustical engineer at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

新加坡南洋理工大学声学工程师巴恩·兰说道。

The device looks like a grid of small speakers and fits over an open window. A microphone samples incoming noise, then sends the speaker grid instructions on what sort of “antinoise” to emit. The result is to cancel out the incoming sound.

该设备看起来像一个小喇叭网格,适合放在一个打开的窗户上。麦克风对传入的噪音进行采样,然后向扬声器网格发送指令,说明要发出哪种“抗噪”。结果抵消了传入的声音。

For example, here’s the sound of a commuter train in Singapore with no noise control.

例如,这是新加坡的上下班火车的声音,没有噪音控制。

Now here’s that same train sound with the array of noise-cancelling speakers turned on.

现在,这是同样的火车声音,同时开启了一组降噪扬声器。

Compare that to a closed window.

与关闭的窗户对比。

The antinoise device is almost as good and allows air to keep flowing into and out of the window. The details are in the journal Scientific Reports.

抗噪装置几乎一样好,允许空气持续流入和流出窗户。详细情况发表在《科学报告》杂志上。

The device is just a prototype—so it’s still expensive. And it doesn’t block out all sounds. It masks sound at frequencies from 300 to 1000 Hz—which includes the rumble of freeways, trains and planes. But even that could come in handy in a place like Singapore.

这个设备只是一个原型,所以它仍然很贵。而且它不能屏蔽所有的声音。只可以屏蔽300到1000赫兹的声音,包括高速公路、火车和飞机的隆隆声。但即便如此,在新加坡这样的地方,也可能会派上用场。

“Gimme a second, there’s a plane flying past.”

“等一下,有架飞机飞过。”

Bhan says Singapore already has a lot of green buildings that use natural ventilation.

巴恩说,新加坡已经有很多使用自然通风的绿色建筑。

“But the downside is: when you have lots of openings in the buildings, the noise comes in, so you need some way to manage the increasing noise.”

“但缺点是:当建筑物中有很多开口时,噪音就会进来,所以需要某种方法来控制不断增加的噪音。”

A grid of window speakers could do the trick—especially if people prioritize peace and quiet over a good view, which folks at home tend to do all night.

一排窗户扬声器就可以达到这个目的——尤其是相比于美景,人们更喜欢安静、平和,所以人们往往整夜呆在家里。

Speaker System Blocks City Noise

Restaurants, schools, dentist offices are all keeping more windows open to increase ventilation—and, hopefully, to decrease the chances of encountering the coronavirus. But letting in fresh air also lets in more noise.

Now researchers have come up with a device that’s like noise-cancelling headphones—but for a building.

“It works on the same principle, so it detects noise that’s coming into the windows and then is cancelling the noise.”

Bhan Lam, an acoustical engineer at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

The device looks like a grid of small speakers and fits over an open window. A microphone samples incoming noise, then sends the speaker grid instructions on what sort of “antinoise” to emit. The result is to cancel out the incoming sound.

For example, here’s the sound of a commuter train in Singapore with no noise control.

[CLIP: Before control]

Now here’s that same train sound with the array of noise-cancelling speakers turned on.

[CLIP: After control]

Compare that to a closed window.

[CLIP: Window closed SFX]

The antinoise device is almost as good and allows air to keep flowing into and out of the window. The details are in the journal Scientific Reports. [Bhan Lam et al., Active control of broadband sound through the open aperture of a full-sized domestic window]

The device is just a prototype—so it’s still expensive. And it doesn’t block out all sounds. It masks sound at frequencies from 300 to 1000 Hz—which includes the rumble of freeways, trains and planes. But even that could come in handy in a place like Singapore.

“Gimme a second, there’s a plane flying past.”

Bhan says Singapore already has a lot of green buildings that use natural ventilation.

“But the downside is: when you have lots of openings in the buildings, the noise comes in, so you need some way to manage the increasing noise.”

A grid of window speakers could do the trick—especially if people prioritize peace and quiet over a good view, which folks at home tend to do all night.


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