The Acoustic Iris
A project designed for the TU Delft Science Center, this was a student group project, which was designed as a part of the MSc 2- Hyperbody studio at the University of Technology Delft. The aim of the project was to reduce the noise created in the hallway by the incoming visitors, using an interactive design installation. We analyzed the usage patterns of the incoming visitors and conducted an acoustic analysis of the hallway, by using a series of sensors. We found out that, the noise generates from large groups of visitors in the hallway, the staircase is used occasionally by them. However, due to the high ceilings and lack of sound-absorbing surfaces, the reverberation is enhanced in the staircase, creating echoes. Using sound-absorbing walls next to the stairs would prevent the noise to spread through space, ideally the area, along the lower leg of the staircase.
For this purpose two sound-absorbing walls are proposed, on both sides of the central staircase, at the science center. These walls are created using Arduino operated Iris units. When the sensors are activated, the iris open and expose the acoustic material inside helping reduce sound reverberation. After several weeks of designing the mechanism and prototyping, we created 4 such interactive iris units. On top of each of the units, an ultrasonic distance sensor and a sound sensor are installed, these sensors would trigger the iris to open, when an elevated decibel of sound is detected and when a person moves close to it.