For the 2011 - 2012 RSA Student Design Awards competition I chose a brief where the task was to make flexible work easier.To do this I wanted to create a space where people could meet without the disturbance of background noise in cafés, restaurants etc.
In my research and observations I found that people tend to shy away from areas where there are a lot of people and noise when having meetings, they go to places they know will be almost empty during the day.
I started sketching a speaker system using anti-phase to reduce background noise and spoke with a sound engineer to figure out what i needed to make it work.
The speaker system will reduce the background noise for people around a table.
It will reduce high-frequency sound, which is the sound that creates problems when communicating.
The speaker system is rechargeable and consist of two speakers, a tweeter for high frequency sound and a loud speaker, a phase reverser, a directional (cardioid) microphone which only picks up background noise and a hardshell body to block unwanted sound travelling forward.
It is placed on the back of the chair and the price would be from about £300 - £500 depending on which company produces it.
With this system businesses can have more meetings outside of the office. They can derby reduce the number of desks / share desks and make flexible working easier for their employees. Flexible working makes for happier employees and higher productivity.