New noise-buster puts you in control


July 1, 1999

Nasty, intrusive noises like the neighbour's stereo or a pneumatic drill in the road outside can be tamed by a revolutionary device called the "Smart Curtain" by its inventor, a young British-trained designer.

The Smart Curtain is the brainchild of Andreas Raptopoulos, who got a £2000 cash award for his invention from the British Standards Institution at a special event on Tuesday, June 29 1999.

Translucent and lightweight, the Smart Curtain reduces noise by an impressive eight decibels, and would bring visual elegance to any home, office or public place. But it's also packed with sophisticated electronics, giving it a high-tech edge over conventional sound-insulating materials.

This capability supplements its sound-proofing qualities by changing any nasty noise that gets through the curtain into something quite different.

Soft, soothing ambient 'music' is created from any irritating raised voices, traffic noise or even construction work on the other side. And the curtain's powerful processors can handle noises up to 70 decibels.

The Smart Curtain is not yet available in High Street shops, but inventor Andreas, a student at London's Royal College of Art, reckons there's a big potential market and is looking for backers. His prototypes, on display at the college until July 4 1999, are modular in design and can be joined up to form different shapes that fit any space.

"Having control over a noisy environment makes people feel less stressed-out and more comfortable," says Andreas. "With the Smart Curtain, any sound entering your world becomes your friend, instead of being your enemy."

Keith Tozzi, chief executive of BSI, said: "This is an impressive invention showing great originality and could improve many people's quality of life and productivity."

"BSI's work focuses on standards to improve safety, quality and the environment - and this invention does just that," Keith Tozzi added. "In recognition of this, I am delighted to have awarded Andreas, its inventor, with a cash prize for travel to promote the commercialisation of his invention."

The presentation evening took place on Tuesday June 29 1999 at the Royal College of Art in London, a training ground for many of the world's top industrial designers.

BSI sponsors the Design Award scheme to recognise and help foster innovation in environmentally sensitive designs. 

Wilma Tulloch on +44 (0)20 8996 6330 OR
Marc Edney on +44 (0)20 8996 6330