Noise-canceling Device Makes a Place More Peaceful

November 10, 2013

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. gadget [GAJ-it] (n.) – a useful electronic device
Example:  Her parents got her several gadgets for her birthday, including an iPhone and a new camera.

2. sensor [SEN-sawr] (n.)  – a device that is sensitive to light, temperature, sounds, or other sources of stimulus
Example: Today’s smartphones have various sensors that can detect physical movement and temperature around the place.

3. oasis [oh-EY-sis] (n.) – a pleasant change from one’s usual environment
Example: The small public park is the only remaining oasis in this highly urbanized city.

4. turn down [turn doun] (v.) – to decrease the volume of a sound
Example:  My mom asked my brother to turn down the very loud music.

5. futuristic [fyoo-chuh-RIS-tik] (adj.) – refers to something that looks like it came from the future
Example:  In terms of design, Apple’s new Mac Pro is the most futuristic computer I have ever seen.


Read the text below.

A new gadget aims to make life more comfortable for urban residents by giving something that they cannot always get in the city: silence.

The device, called the Sono, is a pebble-shaped sensor that is mounted on the window and then turns a noisy room into an oasis of silence. Created by Austrian designer Rudolf Stefanich, the new gadget was recently selected as a finalist of a prestigious design competition.

Stefanich got the idea from the glass doors in his office. According to him, the glass doors looked good, but could not contain any sound. He imagined how convenient it would be if a control knob on the glass can turn down the noise.
This idea gave birth to the Sono, a futuristic-looking gadget which sticks to the window and detects noise by sensing vibrations on the window’s glass surface. Once it detects noise, the device generates signals that cancel out the vibrations, effectively killing the noise.

The Sono also features selective noise cancelling, a function that cancels only a specific sound while letting other sounds pass through. This feature can be used to turn undesirable sounds into pleasant ones. For example, the device can detect the sound of a barking dog and replace it with the sound of singing birds.

Stefanich is currently looking for sponsors to complete the engineering of the gadget and hopes that the design eventually goes into commercial production.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you think that the Sono device would be a successful commercial product? Why do you think so?
·         How else do you think this gadget can be useful in your school/workplace? Discuss with your tutor.

Discussion B

·         Do you think it is important for city dwellers to be able to have moments of silence every once in a while? Why or why not?
·         If you were given a chance to live your life in a quiet place away from the city, would you take it? Why or why not?


November 10, 2013