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Wolfson samples anti-noise chips for 2012 products

Could decode music files too
Thu Feb 10 2011, 08:00

ELECTRONICS OUTFIT Wolfson Microelectronics is sampling anti-noise chips with a view to products using the technology from 2012 to reduce annoying sounds.

While the technical goal is a 32 decibel (dB) reduction in background noise, what that means is that people will have the perception of virtually all noise disappearing.

Here is the science bit, though. Sound volume is measured on a logarithmic scale, so while background noise might be 90dB and might be reduced to 58dB in scientific terms, that difference to the human ear is actually massive.

For the person on the end of the phone, their sound experience is also set to change, as Wolfson explains that it can achieve substantial local noise reductions by sending anti-noise into the ear.

Your phone will detect the noise in your surroundings and almost instantly transmit a reproduction of sorts of that noise into your ear in such a way that the two similar noise sources almost cancel each other out. For those who understand the logarithmic scale the reduction is said by Wolfson to be 20dB. Wolfson's chips that do all this are the WM0010 and the WM2200.

"It can also reduce power use because you can use it to decode music files instead of the CPU," said Andy Brannan, Wolfson chief commercial officer, adding that the power saving was because the chips are very low power consumers.

Coy on who the customers might be Brannan would only say that it is public knowledge the company supplies Samsung and LG, and that it already provides an earlier noise reduction technology to Nokia. µ

 

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