I like to explore the scary side of future tech on this blog, but today I’m sharing a miracle invention. I welcome this beautiful disruption with open arms.
A new Kickstarter-funded device called the Muzo uses anti-vibration technology to create a portable cone of silence around you. It reduces or eliminates environmental sound vibrations, which in turn eliminates sound.
The video shows it working next to a bed, in coffee shops, the office, and just about anywhere.
I’m in love.
Ever wanted to shout “silence!” at a group of people and have them quiet instantly? I have. Look how fun it is:
Now you can actually do this. The people will probably continue talking (and shout curses at you), but you won’t be able to hear them.
I already have a pair of noise-cancelling headphones, which also use vibration technology to reduce environmental sound. But as I understand it, the headphones fire vibrations back at the environment’s vibrations instead of actually reducing vibrations. It’s great, but still allows a lot of sound through.
And you have to wear bulky earphones on your head.
I have a touch of misophonia. I don’t know if that is an actual condition, but it’s essentially an inability to filter out some background noises that most don’t even notice, like the sound of chewing. I’ve longed for tech to bring me a solution. I thought it would require futurish implants, but the Muzo seems to promise a more elegant solution.
I still have questions about the device. None of the descriptions of the anti-vibration technology say just how much sound is blocked. Can you create total silence? If it is able to stop all sound vibrations, then it should be possible. But it’s just not clear.
If three different couples sit in a coffee shop and all three use a different Muzo machine, what happens? Can the “cones of silence” overlap? If you walk through one of those cones, does the environmental audio disappear, replaced by the conversations of the people inside it?
Can you bisect or trisect public place into multiple zones?
The Muzo is pricey, so I’m not pre-ordering anything (but bless those early adopters who funded the Kickstarter). I’ll also have to wait for reviews to see if the reality lives up to the promised capability.
But I’m excited.
And yet, this is Coffee and Chaos Theory, so I feel obligated to explore the potential dark side. I’ve fallen in hardcore love with the idea of the Muzo, but I’ll try.
So…. a device that can stop sound vibrations. Could it be scary? Sure. For introverts like me, on-demand silence will create a temptation to carry the device everywhere, living in a permanent bubble of manufactured silence (or white noise of my choosing).
I also wonder if vibration suppression could be used to eliminate speech altogether. Disrupt meetings, crowds, even battlefield communication. We will rely less and less on verbal communication as time goes on, but it’s something to consider.
I’m in love, so I’ll take the risk. Bring it on.
Maybe we could fire the cone of silence at an entire movie theater and use the device to allow only the film audio. YES. I’m going from love to obsession here.
So what do you think about this earth-shattering invention? Scary, beautiful, or both? Please say you love it; otherwise, we can’t be friends.