Insanity or Innovation? The World’s Quietest Place

By: | November 7th, 2013

Electromagnetically Shielded Anechoic Chamber  - Image courtesy www.lockheedmartin.com

Electromagnetically Shielded Anechoic Chamber - Image courtesy www.lockheedmartin.com

Imagine hearing nothing but your heartbeat, over and over, for seconds, minutes, hours. Eventually, you may get a little crazy, but this is how quiet a room must be in order to test the most sensitive equipment in the world.

Companies from motorcycle maker Harley Davidson to washing machine maker Whirlpool use these facilities to test products and improve their sound. NASA uses these chambers to replicate space environments absent normal perceptual cues that lead astronauts to hallucinate.

Anechoic chambers block out and absorb 99.9% of sound and Orfield’s lab holds the Guinness World Record for the world’s quietest place. The following video shows EMC’s anechoic chamber in Australia.

The image above shows Lockheed Martin’s (LM) Electronic’s Parkway Campus electromagnetically shielded anechoic chamber in Syracuse, New York, USA. Kelly Buckingham of LM stands in the $16 million chamber, which has 50,000 foam cones for absorbing outside radio frequencies that interfere with radar testing equipment.

Anechoic means non-echoing or echo free and these chambers completely absorb sound and electromagnetic waves that cause false readings in very sensitive equipment like radar systems. Anechoic chambers range in size from small compartments to aircraft hanger size facilities. “The chambers are so quiet the longest researchers can stay inside is about 45 minutes due to the complete loss of perceptual clues humans use to maintain balance and maneuvre,” according to Steve Orfield of Orfield Labs.

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David Schilling

David lives in the Boston\’s Allston neighborhood in close proximity to Boston University, Boston College, MIT, Harvard, Northeastern as well as Bostons leading companies and labs. You can also find David on Google+.

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2 thoughts on “Insanity or Innovation? The World’s Quietest Place

  1. Lee Skinner
    December 2, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    How is this different from being in a dry remote section of Carlsbad Cavern? Wouldn’t that be equally quiet? (No water dripping, no bats or cave insects)

    1. admin
      December 2, 2013 at 12:28 pm

      In a cave you would get an echo. There is no echo in the room filled with foam spikes

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