Anyone who regularly sleeps with a snorer can tell you that it's a special kind of ... hmm, "relationship challenge" is probably the polite term.
We have some good news: A team of frankly heroic designers over at Indiegogo has developed a system that they claim can effectively combat snoring by way of noise-canceling technology.
The Silent Partner smart patch uses the same basic approach as those high-end headphone systems that reduce ambient noise. Designed to be worn by the offending snorer, the device broadcasts a kind of counter-snoring noise that ideally evens things out and produces a restful night of sleep for everyone involved.
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The Silent Partner doesn't actually stop the snoring, mind you. It stops the snoring noise. As such, the market for the technology isn't actually people who snore -- it's people who sleep with people who snore. The real victims, you might say.
As explained on the Indiegogo project page, the Silent Partner uses an Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) system specially modified to handle the dilemma of snoring. Sensors on the device detect the amplitude and frequency of the offending noise in real time. Then tiny speakers broadcast what amounts to a jamming signal -- an inverted phase sound wave that cancels out the original sound.
If all goes well, the smart patch creates a "silent zone" around the head of the snorer. It's designed to be worn on the face, over the nose and as close as possible to the sinus cavities. Replaceable penny-sized adhesive keep the device in place. The closer the Silent Partner is to the source of the snoring -- those resonating sinuses -- the better it works, according to designers.
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If you've ever tried noise-canceling headphones, you're already aware that the effect really is remarkable. Active Noise Cancellation doesn't actually reduce the volume of anything. But thanks to certain qualities of acoustic physics -- combined with the way our brains process sound -- ANC can indeed dispel unwanted ambient noises.
The Silent Partner is generating a lot of buzz, appropriately enough. The project has raised $674,945 on Indiegogo as of this writing, against its initial goal of $40,000. The enthusiasm suggests that there are a lot of people out there in the market for something like this. Here's the demo video: