Development of an Acoustically Adaptive Modular System for Near Real-Time Clarity-Enhancement
This paper details the development of an acoustically adaptive modular system capable of enhancing Speech Clarity (C50 Clarity Index) in specific locations within a space in near real-time. The mechanical component of the system consists of quadrilateral, truncated pyramidal modules that extend or retract perpendicularly to their base. This enables said modules (1) to change in the steepness of the sides of their frustum, which changes the way incoming sound waves are deflected/reflected/diffused by the surfaces of the pyramid; and (2) to reveal or to hide the absorbent material under each module, which enables a portion of incoming sound waves to be absorbed/dissipated in a controlled manner. The present setup considers a fragmentary implementation of six modules. The behavior of these modules is determined by two steps in the computational component of the system. First, the initial position of the modules is set via a model previously generated by an evolutionary solver, which identifies the optimal extension/retraction extent of each of the six modules to select for individual configurations that collectively ascertain the highest clarity in said specific locations. Second, a simulated receiver at the location in question measures the actual clarity attained and updates the model’s database with respect to the configuration’s corresponding clarity-value. Since the nature of acoustics is not exact, if the attained measurement is lower than the model’s prediction for said location under the best module-configuration, but higher than the second-best configuration for the same location, the modules remain at the initial configuration. However, if the attained values are lower, this step reconfigures the modules to instantiate the second—or third-, fourth-, etc.—best configuration and updates the model’s database with respect to the new optimal module-configuration value. These steps repeat each time the user moves to another specific location. The objective of the system is to contribute to the intelligent and intuitive Speech Clarity regulation of an inhabited space. This contributes to its Interior Environmental Quality, which promotes well-being and quality of life.
KeywordsCyber-physical systems Adaptive acoustics Internet of Things
The authors wish to acknowledge Cristian Amaguaña, Juan Balseca, and Dario Cabascango, students of the Faculty of Electrical & Electronic Engineering at Escuela Politécnica Nacional, for their assistance in the assembly of the physical implementation. Part of the present implementation was made possible by funding from Universidad Internacional SEK’s Project No. P111819.
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