Ford’s new noise-canceling kennel is a dream for millions of dogs who get startled by loud noises like storms, doorbells, and New Year’s Eve fireworks. (It’s also a dream for humans who prefer to sleep in complete silence, like me.)
Ford’s engineers and designers in the U.K. developed the dog house to help these sound-sensitive dogs, which account for an estimated 45% of all dogs in the country. It’s a common problem everywhere in the world, though: Dogs hear sound differently than humans, and many get easily startled by loud noises–it can lead to severe anxiety and, in the worst of cases, dogs who escape their homes and run away in terror. It’s no coincidence that July 5th is the busiest shelter day of the year in the United States, as lost dogs who bolted during thunderous fireworks shows are brought into shelters.
So, why did Ford’s design team turn to this particular problem? The house uses the same active noise-canceling technology that the car company uses in its Edge SUV–the same as the one you can find in some Bose or Sony headphones. The kennel has microphones that capture the exterior sound as it enters the habitable space. A digital processor analyzes these sound waves, creating opposing signals that are played through the built-in speakers inside the dog house. These inverted signals interact with the exterior sound, effectively canceling it. The result is not absolute silence, but something that comes pretty close. Inside, a dog can’t hear doorbells ringing, fireworks exploding, or thunder clapping. The angular, minimalist design is also beautiful–I’d love to buy a human-sized version and sleep for a month.
Unfortunately, it’s a one-of-a-kind product, not available for purchase “for now,” Ford says in its press release. Ford, please. This may have started out as a marketing stunt, but it’s screaming for a global Kickstarter.