Monday, April 9, 2012

The quietest room in the world might make you crazy

"There is a standing bet that anyone lasting 45 minutes in the chamber, in the dark, earns a case of beer of their choice. No one has lasted more than a half hour."

"If the room doesn't... I will"

From TCB Mag's article:
It sounds inviting. Peaceful. Maybe even idyllic. But experiencing it can be more nightmare than nirvana.
In 2005, the Guinness Book of World Records proclaimed the anechoic chamber at Orfield Laboratories in South Minneapolis the “Quietest Place on Earth.” The nation’s only certified anechoic chamber in an independent lab, it is a room within a room within a room; the innermost chamber is lined with 3.3-foot-thick fiberglass acoustic wedges and floats on I-beams and springs. Both inner rooms have double walls of insulated steel; the outside walls are foot-thick concrete. The background noise level is minus 9.4 decibels. In this room, even a dog is deaf to the world outside.
The total absence of sound outside your body makes you keenly aware of what’s going on inside your body. Your heart pumps. Your lungs inflate and deflate. Your ears buzz. Your blood pulses. In an anechoic chamber, you are one noisy organism. With no reverberation in the room, you have no spatial orientation cues. After about half an hour in the dark, you can become disoriented. Eventually, you might experience visual and aural hallucinations.
The anechoic chamber doesn’t exist as a kind of engineering curiosity. The researchers at Orfield Labs use it to test products such as hearing aids, automotive parts, heart valves, hard drives, and sleep-apnea machines.


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