Researchers at Boston University have built a mathematically perfect ring with a 3D printer that can cancel out more than 90 percent of sounds.
According to a recent press release, professor at the College of Engineering Xin Zhang and Department of Mechanical Engineering Ph.D. student Reza Ghaffarivardavagh came up with the design — which they showed off in a video — works.
"Today's sound barriers are literally thick heavy walls," Ghaffarivardavagh said.
The ring device is simply fitted onto the hole of something that emanates sound — the researchers' video features a PVC pipe in front of a loudspeaker, with the ring attached to the other end — and it blocks 94 percent of the sound.
The hole is still open, although it is slightly smaller because of the ring, but the ring's acoustic metamaterial is able to stop most sound waves and redirect them back where they originated.
"The idea is that we can now mathematically design an object that can block the sounds of anything," Zhang said.