Mercedes Is Using Noise To Improve Pre-Crash Safety
USA– The technology blasts drivers with a “pink noise” bubble to protect hearing during an accident.
While automated cars can work to prevent crashes through intercommunication and precisely coordinated movements, pre-crash safety mechanisms are adding additional layers of security. One such example from Mercedes-Benz, is the addition of an innovative safety feature that braces your ears for impact. A crashing car outputs roughly 145 dB, enough to damage hearing for some. An airbag – the very mechanism that prevents you from getting hurt – produces around 165 dB when deployed; a sound so loud, its estimated to cause some degree of permanent hearing loss to 17% of people exposed to it.
In response to the new challenge presented by the current shock-absorbing solution, Mercedes has unveiled a design that releases a blast of ‘pink’ noise during a car crash, a broad spectrum of frequencies which seemingly masks the harshness of a discharged airbag. On a technical level, ‘pink’ noise’s power is inversely proportional to the frequency, which triggers what is known as the ‘acoustic reflex,’ an involuntary contraction of the smallest muscle in the body which is located in the ear, in turn bracing the bones of the inner ear and the eardrum from the shrilling. At a safe output of 85 dB, the sound of impact will equate to roughly that of a dishwasher.