Zach- See Our Silence

Humanity has made great advancements in society. However, such progress also brings unhealthy amounts of noise. Noise pollution is a global health issue. Governments and industries spend millions on suppression materials like panels and filters to reduce it. Individuals combat the problem with noise cancelling headphones, but research in both environmental and personal solutions have been limited due their static nature in a mobile world. What is needed is a practical, cost-effective solution to “clean the noisy air” in everyday spaces such as a the home or office.

I play the cello and both sound and silence are very important to me. As I practiced, the constant sounds from the A/C, dehumidifier and other devices inspired me to find a solution. I researched both passive and active noise cancellation, at both the environmental and individual levels, and sought to solve the problem for people like me and others around the world.

My science teacher recommended I enter the competition for a chance to work with real 3M scientists and bring my project to life. I was nervous but excited to create the submission video, even putting in a bit of my cello playing for good measure. As I waited to hear if I was selected, I continued research, prototyping and sampling sounds from intersections, malls and public spaces. My family, teachers and community were all very excited to hear I was selected as a finalist.

Now I am focused on working with my mentor to produce an innovative noise cancelling solution based on my research. If I win, I hope to turn my invention into a working product and either patent or produce it for people to use. Regardless of the outcome, I am honored to be part of the competition and look forward to the journey.