Insanity or Innovation? The World’s Quietest Place

By: | November 7th, 2013

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 Russell Schilling

David enjoys research and writing about cutting edge technologies that hold the promise of improving conditions for all life on planet earth.

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