A Room So Quiet You Can Hear Your Heartbeat

Shhh...Our Czech Republic facility has a laboratory devoid of ambient noise

At the end of a long, stressful day, there is nothing better than finding a little corner for some well-deserved peace and quiet, be it the bedroom, the study or the bathtub. Yet even in our most blissful sanctuaries, we face the prospect of being disturbed by street noise, a neighbor’s late-night house party or even our own offspring.

In today’s busy world it is almost impossible to completely escape noise.

That is unless you work at Honeywell Technology Solutions’ (HTS) advanced technology facility in Brno, Czech Republic . There, a unique new laboratory has opened, which is the quietest place in the Czech Republic.

Why does extreme silence matter so much? To make our products – from thermostats to personal safety equipment – as quiet as possible, engineers use this hush-hush setting to precisely measure where any product sound is coming from and how it can be reduced even further. This attention to detail helps make the finished product completely unobtrusive and more user-friendly. 

Of course in order to succeed at this and be deemed the quietest place in an entire country, a room has to be, unsurprisingly, very quiet.

“Make a noise such as a clap, and there isn’t even the slight echo or reverb that you would hear if you clapped in your living room and that your brain recognizes as part of a ’normal’ clapping sound. In fact, if you stand still it is so quiet you can practically hear the beating of your own heart,” says Vaclav Prajzner, the technical leader at the facility.

The background noise level in the chamber is measured at no more than -5dB (decibels) – well below what can be detected by human hearing. To put that into perspective, a quiet office or library will still have a background noise of around 30-40dB, while rainfall can be measured at approximately 50-55dB .

The extreme degree of silence in the room, which is known as an “anechoic chamber,” is achieved largely due to special wedge-shaped cladding on the walls. The dense wool material effectively absorbs sound like a sponge and converts it into heat. There are more than 10,000 of these wedges, covering every surface of the chamber – enough to fill approximately two fully loaded tractor trailers.

Because the wedges absorb virtually all background sounds from the room and isolate it from external noise, our engineers are able to precisely measure the noise emitted by everything from our most powerful automotive turbochargers, capable of spooling up to more than 280,000rpm in under a second, to the minute gearing units contained inside our heating system actuators and hydraulic valves. They can also test and optimize hearing protection systems designed to maximize worker safety in loud environments, as well as a wide range of technologies that feature voice recognition and control such as our latest line of smart thermostats. 

While we can’t solve the traffic noise outside or encourage the kids to go to bed early, it’s reassuring to know that we are using our own super-silent corner to make everyday technologies quieter and more efficient – and helping you find a little more peace and quiet in our otherwise loud and hectic world.

Chris Martin

Europe, Middle East & Africa