Not a single one of us has been spared the annoyance of a rumbling diesel engine, loud construction, or an annoying neighbor.  These irritations often lead to us shutting our windows, even on pleasant days or in stuffy rooms.  But what if I told you a window existed that would block the sound but allow the airflow?  Scientists have developed just that.

The project is described as “A soundproof window or wall which is transparent to airflow.”  You can read the entirety of the paper here, but I will warn you, there is an awful lot of science behind it.  It is also a good time to mention that these windows aren’t for looking through, as all you would see are what look like pipes stuck in a grate.  It’s more for practical use than aesthetics.  The paper breaks down how the device works, but what really interested me was what it could be used for.

“The structure of the air transparent soundproof window or wall is so simple that any carpenter can make it. The soundproof frequency range is tunable. There is a wide range of application areas such as soundproof windows of houses close to noisy area, the soundproof walls in residential areas, etc. For example, if we are in a combined area of sounds from sea waves of low frequency and noises from machine operating at a high frequency, we can hear only the sounds from sea waves with fresh air. These principles should work in water as well as in air and may contribute to underwater noise reduction for marine life.”

Not only will this product have an endless amount of scientific uses, but its usefulness in businesses could be equally great.  Imagine you have a loading dock outside your office, but your employees hate the noise of the trucks backing up constantly.  This device may be able to eliminate that noise pollution while still allowing fresh air into the office.  Certainly this could increase the quality of life for some of your employees.  The same could go for traffic noise, boat horns, and other noises that disrupt work.

When tested, the window/wall device was able to lower sounds by roughly 20-35 decibels.  That is a significant amount.  It may not completely eliminate it, but it filters it enough that you don’t notice it and it doesn’t distract you from your task.

Keep your eye on this device as I’m sure it will only become more advanced in the following months.  Now if they could only make a window that didn’t allow smells through for those poor folks in Gilroy, CA.