Sound-sensitive lamps

The Christmas holiday period is almost upon us and, for grey nomads, that can only mean one thing … crowded campsites, big groups, and loud music and lively chats well beyond the traditional 10pm ‘curfew’.

While every traveller has to some extent play the ‘who’s-my-neighbour’ lottery, different people are willing to tolerate different levels of ‘disruption’ from fellow holidaymakers.

And there are different expectations.

While many full-time grey nomads love to tuck in at 8pm ready for another big day of bushwalking and book reading, younger ‘working families’ – not unreasonably – want to make the most of their evenings during their one- or two-week holiday.

sound-sensitive lamp for grey nomads

Deciding what makes excessive noise then is a subjective call … but perhaps it doesn’t have to be. A couple of young German designers have come up with a noise-sensitive lamp, which might one day act as an independent ‘umpire’ of what noise is acceptable in campgrounds and caravan parks.

The prototype device, which was designed by Markus Kraetzig and Sophie Kupk from the Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems, monitors the ambient sound with integrated microphones.

When things are quiet, the lamp’s RGB LEDs light green; and when it gets noisier, that colour changes to amber.

Finally, if people start to get too loud, the lamp starts flashing red.

That flashing red is basically a warning and, if the noise levels don’t drop within the next five seconds, the device sounds an audible alarm. The volume of the alarm can be adjusted from a range of 70 to 100 decibels.

The noise sensitivity of the lamp can also be set to one of three levels so you can either ‘tolerate’ less or more noise depending on where it’s being used. While there may be a few different ways this device could be used, one of them is most certainly in the camping environment.

Perhaps, one day these lamps will be as common at individual campsites as power and water hook-ups. And maybe the sound of the alarm would bring camp caretakers running to admonish noisy offenders, or perhaps it might trigger an automatic fine, or perhaps a ‘three alarms and you’re out’ eviction policy will be the way to go.

The prototype device is powered by a USB power cord, or by an onboard battery which lasts about 14 hours per charge. There is currently no word on when or if the lamp will be commercially available.

So, in the meantime, grey nomads camping out during this festive period will have to play the ‘who’s-my-neighbour’ lottery once again.

Choose your site wisely!

  • Would you love to see some sort of noise monitoring device introduced at campsites? Email us here to share your thoughts.

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