We love quietness, but how much? What if there is a place on earth wherein you will hear nothing but the sound of your own breathing and blood flow? Neither extraterritorial nor utopian, Microsoft’s special audio lab is, as recorded by Guinness World Records, the world quietest room. Headquartered in Redmond Washington, USA, Microsoft has created this anechoic chamber that commands real attention of researchers and esteemed competitors.
About an anechoic chamber
Anechoic means non-reflective or echo-free. With fairly well insulation from external sources of sound and noise, an anechoic chamber is designed in a way that it can unfailingly absorb reflections of either electromagnetic waves or sounds inside. The audio lab at Microsoft has its core foundation based upon this science.
Why is this ultra quiet?
Two highly sensitive tests conducted by independent sound specialists reported that the average background noise was -20.35 dBA (decibels A-weighted).
Why did Microsoft build this?
Did Bill Gates’s company want only to silence its competitors or to enhance its audio productivity or both? Words revealed by Gopal Gopal, the head of the audio lab, suggest that the company do not want noise contamination from exterior sources while working on a wide range of projects, from building betterspeakers for all of their devices to making improvements of Skype voice call performance. It is understandable why Microsoft wanted to build the world quietest room, and not just a quiet one.
A quick walkthrough
After having the door sealed, the difference between the lab and any other quiet place becomes perceivable as your voice will not carry at all due to your vocal sound not bouncing off the chamber’s walls. Background noise immediately fades out to the fullest extent. If you start talking, you will feel as if you were shouting into a pillow because the noise will not travel.
The previous record
Orfield Labs’ Anechoic Test Chamber at Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA used to be the world quietest room before Microsoft’s audio lab. For those who were in, staying inside the chamber was barely a pleasant experience since disorientation, hallucination, and inability to stand were common experiences.