What if you could build a house with active noise canceling?

A beautiful neighborhood

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When I’m driving to work, I drive along a particularly nice stretch of road with some very fancy houses. It’s nice to look at them and imagine what architectural features of these I might adopt to my own house in the future.

Another thought that crosses my mind as I look at these architectural features in houses is the evolution of smart homes, and what’s really coming next for the buildings that we live in, based on the technology that we have available to us today.

In many ways, the smart home market has slowed down. Everybody has a smart speaker, some lights, maybe a garage door opener, and a few sensors, but not a lot else is happening in that space.

So, when I open up my brain and I think, “Wow. What would be really cool if I had lots of money, and I was building a house, and I wanted to do something that was completely unique?”.

The thing that comes to my mind is, “Could you create a house that was developed in such a way, that it could have active noise canceling?”

Modern house façade from the front of the street
Image living without external noises? Image | JumpStory

Active noise canceling is really the process of taking incoming sound waves, identifying them, and then providing a negative counter wave that cancels those sound waves out.

One of the largest complaints that most people have living in cities or wherever they live is noise.

Whether you have single-glazed, double-glazed, or triple-glazed windows, there’s always some noise that makes its way into your personal living space.

Active noise canceling may not be able to stop the incredibly exciting party happening in the apartment next to you. But if you do live near an area that has a lot of road noise, and a lot of consistent noise from streets and cities, then perhaps building this into a house isn’t a crazy idea.

The theory seems quite simple, you provide microphones that are placed all around the external areas of the house. And then internally, you have some sort of canceling speaker effect that emulates effectively what Bose and Sony are doing with the QC45, and Sony WF-1000XM5s.

I’m not an audio engineer, nor am I a particularly brilliant house builder or architect, although I can sure make my Minecraft look awesome.

But the concept to me seems fairly straightforward. Even if you didn’t soundproof your entire house, if you could provide active noise canceling to key areas, maybe a bedroom, maybe a listening room, maybe a lounge, or any room that is particularly exposed to consistent and frequent noise.

I don’t even know the true science around an anechoic chamber, but perhaps they do make use of similar technology to this.

Bigger modern house façade
Image | JumpStory

Even in offices, if you have a quiet booth and an open office setting, perhaps that quiet booth could not only be well-insulated but have some sort of active noise canceling speaker array that allowed you to enter into the booth and be in complete silence, or at least cancel out Billy on the desk next to you who seems to like talking incredibly loud across the office.

Perhaps it’s also a way for a building to passively power this by having solar energy run a consistent installation signal for the house without needing to run consistent power or even a little windmill on top of your house. Just trying to think green here. There are probably a lot of reasons why this isn’t a good idea.

And I’m sure that many of our readers will be quick to tell me if this is the case, but it’s nice to dream about. And I do think that perhaps it is possible in many ways to achieve this.

An extreme thought would be, why not provide a similar cancellation frequency for airplanes? Or am I just getting carried away now? Crazy thoughts on the drive to work. Let me know what you think.

Endless hours of experimentation, professional work, and personal investment in Home Theatre, Hi-Fi, Smart Home Automation and Headphones have come to this.

Former owner of Headphones Canada, a high-end headphone specialty retailer.

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