Office of Technology Transfer – University of Michigan

Dynamically Responsive Acoustic Tuning Envelope

Technology #5303

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Categories
Researchers
Geoffrey Thun
Managed By
Keith Hughes
Assistant Director, Physical Sciences & Engineering 734-764-9429
Patent Protection
US Patent Pending

Architectural Acoustic Design

Controlling the acoustics of a room is essential for many venues, from concert halls to convention centers. Three main tools have been traditionally used to accomplish this: reflector panels, variable absorption curtains, and electro-acoustic systems. These products are static, and cannot adjust in real-time to a changing volume, frequency, or source of the sound. An emerging technology of “sound clouds” creates an actuated set of reflective panels to actively alter the acoustics of the surrounding environment. The challenge remains in creating a solution that has the control of the traditional tools, but the active adjustment of the sound clouds. 90 million square feet of convention space and over 17,000 museums in the United States present a tremendous opportunity for better acoustic performance.

Dynamic Acoustic Tuning

Researchers in Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan and Arup USA, Inc. have developed a technology that dynamically controls a room’s acoustic properties. The technology incorporates sound reflection, damping, and electro-acoustic (active sound control) elements into a dynamically changing surface. This surface can change in localized regions and over a large area, allowing for careful acoustic control over a large range. Through substitution of the sound controlling elements an acoustic solution can be customized to fit existing spaces. The technology allows for a lightweight system that presents an un-cluttered surface exposed to view. The range of elements allows for control over early and late acoustic energy as well as dynamic amplification.

Applications and Advantages

Architectural Acoustic Design Controlling the acoustics of a room is essential for many venues, from concert halls to convention centers. Three main tools have been traditionally used to accomplish this: reflector panels, variable absorption curtains, and electro-acoustic systems. These products are static, and cannot adjust in real-time to a changing volume, frequency, or source of the sound. An emerging technology of “sound clouds” creates an actuated set of reflective panels to actively alter the acoustics of the surrounding environment. The challenge remains in creating a solution that has the control of the traditional tools, but the active adjustment of the sound clouds. 90 million square feet of convention space and over 17,000 museums in the United States present a tremendous opportunity for better acoustic performance.

Dynamic Acoustic Tuning Researchers in Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan and Arup USA, Inc. have developed a technology that dynamically controls a room’s acoustic properties. The technology incorporates sound reflection, damping, and electro-acoustic (active sound control) elements into a dynamically changing surface. This surface can change in localized regions and over a large area, allowing for careful acoustic control over a large range. Through substitution of the sound controlling elements an acoustic solution can be customized to fit existing spaces. The technology allows for a lightweight system that presents an un-cluttered surface exposed to view. The range of elements allows for control over early and late acoustic energy as well as dynamic amplification.

Applications

  • Music venues
  • Entertainment spaces (e.g. convention centers)
  • Multimedia presentation rooms (e.g. meeting rooms)

Advantages

  • Real-time dynamic control of acoustics
  • Detailed control of acoustic energy
  • Customizable to existing spaces