Imagine being able to to zap the sounds of bickering children, thundering traffic, pounding road diggers, barking dogs or twittering colleagues at the mere press of a button. Well, it’s now possible and the device that can do it — the Mute — may be commercially available in the not-so-distant future.
The Mute works by “sampling”, or recording, the sound that the user wants to screen out so that it can identify the shape of the sound wave. “It then inverts the sampled signal and plays it upside down over the noise that is coming in and they cancel each other out.” …
[The Mute] was created for the Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID) to help people with hearing difficulties to screen out background noise that can interfere with their understanding of the spoken word. But its creators soon recognised that its applications could be far wider.
Chris Vanstone, of Human Beans, the design consultancy behind the Mute [and inventor of other ingenious fictional products], said: “We wanted to create a product that could help everyone to manage the noise around them. The world is getting noisier all the time. It is twice as loud now as 50 years ago.”