New 'hearing' maps are real conversation starters
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Date posted: 10/03/2010
Posted by: Site Administration
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Sensors

nnovative sound-mapping software based on human hearing has been developed to help architects design out unwanted noise.

The new software generates audibility maps of proposed room designs.

The EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council) project has been developed at Cardiff University.

These maps show hotspots where conversations would not be intelligible if the room were busy. Architects can then adjust their designs to reduce reverberation until the hotspots are eliminated and audibility is maximised.

Software already exists to help architects predict how a building will perform acoustically for an audience in places like theatres and concert halls. This new software is specifically designed to improve the acoustic design of indoor spaces where a large number of people meet, chat and interact. It could be used for business as well as social purposes, for example, in designing open-plan offices, cafes and reception areas.

"A lot of work has been done to understand acoustics in places used for public performances," says Professor John Culling, project leader. "But little has been done to improve the acoustics of day-to-day meeting-places, even though this would help all of us in our working and social lives."

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