It's noisy on your street. Car horns, fire alarms, the neighbors arguing. You want to relax, but there's always something getting in the way.
Rudolf Stefanich's fix is a little plastic device you place on the window. Called Sono, it's a noise-cancellation system that lets you to keep the sounds you want, and block out the ones you don't.
It works like active noise cancellation technology in some headphones. The Sono takes vibrations from a window pane and reprocesses them, releasing sound back into the room in a less annoying form.
An industrial designer from Vienna, Stefanich came up with the idea while working in a large office. "The beautiful glass doors of the meeting rooms were very elegant, but they hardly held back a word that was spoken inside the room," he says.
"I thought: 'Wouldn't it be great if you had a volume knob on that glass to simply turn down the volume?' The image of the volume knob stuck in my mind and I decided to explore that."
Stefanich sees the Sono like a radio dial. You skip through sound sources using the user interface, "playing" only the ones you want (a bit like this restaurant project near San Francisco).
For the moment, the Sono is just a working prototype. But it has been shortlisted for this year's James Dyson Awards. Stefanich is now looking for a company to partner with to help commercialize his work.