P17347: Active Noise Cancellation

Problem Definition

Table of Contents

The following page is documentation for the needs and requirements for the project.

Team Vision for Problem Definition Phase

During the problem definitions phase, our team set out to create a problem statement, create use scenarios, gather customer requirements, modify them into engineering requirements, and draft a realistic list of project deliverables and goals. Our team accomplished all of these tasks, making this planning phase a success.

Project Summary

Cubicle-style office environments are often not conducive to focused, solitary work because of the noise brought on by colleagues' and distractions throughout the workplace. Eliminating undesired noise through an Active Noise Cancellation System would improve productivity throughout the work environment. An Active Noise Cancellation System consists of a system of microphones, speakers, and processing software (by means of a users computer) and phases out extraneous noise from the system using phase array techniques. The system should use speakers and microphones already existing in office computers for data collection and operate in near real-time. Currently, the basis for this project is the SPEA2 (Strength Pareto Evolutionary Algorithm) used in conjunction with a phase array based system for operation.

The goals of this project are to reduce the overall noise of the work environment within the bandwidth of the average adult humans' hearing capabilities in near real-time with minimal user involvement. The expected result is a functional prototype consisting of a specialized algorithm based on the SPEA2 that is able to operate on a typical laptop speaker and microphone in order to reduce the noise of the current environment. The resulting design needs to align with project goals and serve as a functional prototype for backers to demonstrate feasibility for a possible consumer product.


A phased array is an array of antennas in which the relative phases of the respective signals feeding the antennas are such that the pattern they create will can reinforce or suppress signals coming from a certain direction. The phased array technique was developed during World War II for 'ground-controlled approach', and has been further used in the fields of astronomy, broadcasting, meteorology and optics. The SPEA is a Multiple Objective Optimization algorithm and an Evolutionary Algorithm from the field of Evolution Computation. SPEAII (which became well understood in the late 20th and early 21st century) improved over it's predecessor through a more precisely guided search process using a nearest neighbor density technique, and an archive truncation method that guarantees the preservation of boundary solutions.

Use Case

The following use case was provided by the customer.
  1. In an office setting a user indicates that they would like to cancel noise in their area.
  2. The software uses available hardware to detect noise in given area
  3. Software uses algorithm to determine the location of the noise source
  4. Software uses source location to cancel noise for user
  5. User experiences lower sound levels in area
 Use Cases

Use Cases

The use cases for the project to do not change with different senarios. The software is used to cancel noise in an area using available hardware to identify noise sources and quite zones.

Project Goals and Key Deliverables

Customer Requirements (Needs)

Customer Rqmt. # Importance Description Comments/Status
CR1 1 Reduce Outside Noise in a Specified Area The main goal of the project
CR2 2 Minimum User Interaction Once Program is Running Goal for Future Development
CR3 2 Use standard office hardware Will be Used in Future Development
CR4 1 Adjust to Moving Noise Sources SPEA2 will use Doppler Effect to Guage
CR5 1 Develop Proof of Concept to Build on in Future Final Development for Imagine RIT
CR6 1 Responds to User Location and Sound Location Engineering requirement SPEA2
CR7 2 Central location for data collection and processing Goal for Future Development
CR8 1 Multiple fixed locations of speakers and microphones Part of the Proof of Concept to Create Area of Effect
CR9 3 Software Implementation Only Goal for Future Development

Engineering Requirements (Metrics & Specifications)

rqmt. # Importance Source Function Engr. Requirement (metric) Unit of Measure Marginal Value Ideal Value
ER1 1 CR4, CR6 Handle complex noise reduction Use SPEA2 for location processing None None None
ER2 3 CR1 Filter for human hearing range The requency response of the system Hz 20 - 1,000 20 - 20,000
ER3 1 CR8 Allow for scalability Scalable regardless of node count Max Node Count 20 100
ER4 2 CR3 Remove need for dedicated hardware Use onboard hardware for recording/playback Boolean No Yes
ER5 7 CR2 Reduce user interaction No parameters available to end users Settings 5 0
ER6 5 CR7, CR9 Allow for code portability Reduce the need of specific libraries and external dependencies Dependencies 5 0
ER7 3 CR1 Verify Noise Reduction Reduce ambient noise in a specific area dB -15 -30
ER8 1 CR5 Allow for follow on group to continue work Document all public properties/methods Undocumented Classes 5 0
ER9 1 CR5 Allow for follow on group to continue work All methods make use of interfaces Hard Class References 5 0

House of Quality

House of Quality

House of Quality


Plans for next phase

Week Team Plan Individual Plan
09/05/2016 Preperation for Presentation Read SPEA2 Senior Thesis
Presentation Background research on noise cancellation - concept generation
Peer Review Research interfacing with microphones and speakers
Complete Draft Work
09/12/2016 Functional Analysis Perform another customer interview with Teammates and Dr. Amuso
Morph Table Refine Customer Requirements
Alternatives and Concept Selection
Refine Requirements
09/19/2016 Deliverable Check Off Reach out to contacts in regards to procuring materials
Continued Systems Design Procure testing location, equipment and materials
Bring in Technical Capabilities
09/26/2016 More Systems Design Component benchmark selection
Systems Level Design Review
Build up for Systems Design review
Completion of Systems Design

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