Microsoft Owns Quietest Place On Earth

Everyone needs a quiet place to go to, even Microsoft. That's why the tech giant had Eckel Noise Control Technologies built it an anechoic chamber that recently broke the Guinness World Record for the Quietest Place on Earth, measuring -20.6 dB. For context, the theoretical noise produced by Brownian motion—the random movement of particles in air—is the quietest-known sound outside the vacuum of space, and is measured at -23 dB.
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Redmond, WA (October 15, 2015)—Everyone needs a quiet place to go to, even Microsoft. That's why the tech giant had Eckel Noise Control Technologies build it an anechoic chamber that recently broke the Guinness World Record for the Quietest Place on Earth, measuring -20.6 dB. For context, the theoretical noise produced by Brownian motion—the random movement of particles in air—is the quietest-known sound outside the vacuum of space, and is measured at -23 dB.

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In March 2014, Microsoft contracted with Eckel to design and build the chamber at its Redmond, Washington audio lab, with the intention of using it for audio and device testing. Installation began at Building 87 in May that year—an effort that saw installer Viking Enterprises of Waterford, CT. fit the chamber’s walls, ceilings and door with Eckel’s sound-absorbing anechoic wedges, while also creating anti-vibration mounts to isolate the chamber from the rest of the building’s foundation. The entire project—which also included the construction of two smaller anechoic chambers—was completed in July that year.

Hundraj Gopal, Ph.D., Microsoft principal human factors engineer, explained, “We designed this and other super-quiet acoustically-controlled chambers to engineer and build best-in-class audio products at Microsoft. We use these facilities for designing products like the Surface, HoloLens and Cortana, that we take great pride in.”

Independent tests of the main chamber by specialists from Brüel & Kjær confirmed that—at -20.6 dB—Microsoft and Eckel had broken the previous world record of -13 dB, held by an Eckel anechoic chamber at Orfield Laboratories in Minneapolis.

“This chamber gives us the opportunity to look for those really small signals that can have an impact to the end user,” said LeSalle Munroe, Microsoft senior engineer, surface devices. “We always want to have the best tools available for the job, and that’s what this is. It’s a great accomplishment.”

Eckel Noise Control Technologies
www.eckelusa.com