Monday, October 23, 2006

Neutralize office noise

A new tool called ChatterBlocker (for Windows) works to neutralize sounds around you in the office, airport or anywhere else to increse your productivity.
Introducting ChatterBlocker, the PC software that uses digital audio technology to mask the sound of speech and other distractions so you can stay focused in any environment.
ChatterBlocker does not use noise-cancellation. Instead it masks unwanted conversations with a soothing blend of nature sounds, music and background chatter.
The goal is to render speech less intelligible, because intelligible speech is often the most distracting sound in the workplace.
ChatterBlocker also offers mindfulness meditation tracks intended to increase concentration, reduce distractibility and minimize the stress response to office noise.
Use ChatterBlocker to tune out disruptions and increase concentration at the office, airports, cafes, or anywhere.
The software doesn't use noise cancellation - which wouldn't work over regular speakers. The software doesn't also work just by adding more noise, instead:
Our goal is not to stop noise by adding more noise. The goal is to render speech less intelligible, because intelligible speech tends to be the most distracting sound in the workplace. If we can understand the conversations around us, our minds tend to lock onto those conversations and we lose track of our own thoughts.
ChatterBlocker doesn’t “stop” noise — it reduces the intelligibility of nearby conversations to make them less distracting. This is done using auditory masking, the same psychoacoustic phenomenon exploited by MP3 and related compression algorithms.
Intelligible speech is hidden behind similar, but less distracting sounds. The result isn’t silence but a relaxing murmur. The effect is similar to lying on a crowded beach, where faraway voices mingle with the sounds of the surf to lull you into a state of relaxation. This state allows you to calm the body and focus the mind.
You can download a 60 minute trial or pay $40 for the license.
Tip of the hat to Lifehacker

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