Don't like noisy restaurants? It can't be helped, with so many people in one, sometimes you'll have to sort of shout just to converse. But can it? Thanks to a new digital noise cancelling technology designed by Meyer Sound and former Phish manager, John Paluska, the system will utilize a combination of speakers, microphones, iPads, sound dampening materials and human ears to make the restaurant at Comal as loud or as quiet as they like it to be.
Sounds impressive already. The system controls sound reverberation levels, which means, one can fill a space with ambient noise if things are too quiet, and they can also dampen down the volume if things get too loud so it'll make it easy for people to talk while eating.
The tech is disguised as art around the restaurant, so you'll never know what's causing this. The paintings and prints on the wall are made of sound absorbing cloth, and the speakers are made to blend in with the decor. Air ducts are lined up with fiberglass. As for the tech itself..:
What makes Comal's different is that when it's combined with Meyer's Constellation system - a program that captures the room's sounds and is able to leak them back into the space - the operator is able to control the level.
To do this, Germain installed a total of 123 speakers, subwoofers and microphones around the restaurant. The microphones pick up sound and send it to a computer where it's digitally processed and regurgitated on command. Paluska does it all from an iPad as he walks around the restaurant. He can also set up some areas to get more reverberation than others. Currently, he has it so that the bar area in the front is buzzier than the dining space in the back. But from everywhere in the restaurant, he said, patrons are able to carry on a comfortable conversation.
Restaurants wanting to implement this technology can expect to pony up anywhere between $10,000 and $100,000. [SF Gate via Co.Design]