Don't toss out your headphones just yet. This might make it to First or Business--maybe even Premium Economy class on select airlines--but having this level of technology standard at the back of the plane could take a while.
Airline passengers who have had their fill of cabin noise and rowdy seat mates, who may be the worse for drink, could soon enjoy an invisible bubble of silence around their personal space.
The appropriately named Silentium company, specializes in development of technologies to dampen noise and reduce overheating in a number of industries, including the IT-sector for which the company builds special devices to cancel the din generated by multiple servers running at once. Experience from the development of these noise isolation technologies, led to the creation of the Quiet BubbleTM product, which generates a personal quiet zone around the passengers head.
The noise cancellation process of the Quiet BubbleTM is similar to the noise cancelling headphones some travellers lug around, but Silentium claims the cutting-edge patented technology it developed can generate more than 10dB(A) noise reduction “across the entire audio spectrum” and has special algorithms that help the microchip, which generates the invisible bubble of calm, better predict the noise it needs to cancel out.
Silentium has already developed the microchip for the automotive sector and has recently introduced the product to aviation at the Airline Passenger Experience Expo (APEX) in Anaheim.
Silentium’s CPO, Yoel Naor, tells us that the company is already working with aviation suppliers and OEMs to integrate the chip into aircraft seats of In-Flight Entertainment equipment. The system can be embedded in the seat for active noise reduction, or to the public address system, cancelling out ambient noise in the cabin, or embedded into the In-Flight Entertainment. “We had project with an airplane seat manufacturer,” he says, “after the APEX , we will have some more partners that wish to implement it in VIP rooms, private jets and so on. But the main target is to bring it to the Economy class.”
Airbus also has plans to introduce a full-immersion bubble to cancel cabin noise and provide entertainment, even pleasant scents, but that consists of a headrest-helmet and is still only on the drawing board.
Of course, noise reduction is a priority of all new aircraft designs including the Boeing Dreamliner, the Boeing 777X, and Airbus’ A350XWB–which just received its EASA approval and is nearly ready to take off on Qatar Airways.