Active Noise Control: Is It Good for Anything?

Dr. Scott Sommerfeldt
Department of Physics and Astronomy
Brigham Young University

Active noise control, in which sound is used to attenuate sound, was a topic of great interest during the 1980s.  Many mistakenly held out the hope that it could solve most, if not all, of the world’s difficult noise problems.  As it became apparent that the technology had been over-hyped, and that active control would not solve all the world’s problems, many became disillusioned with the technology and largely abandoned it.  However, research in the field has steadily continued on during the intervening years, and the technology has been further developed until it is now becoming a viable solution for a number of applications.  This presentation will review the physical principles governing the application of active control, overview our work in this field here at BYU, and look at some of the applications where active noise control is starting to find its way into the marketplace.