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 (just guessing on the price).
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.