Privaseat is an experiment created for Delta Airlines that addresses noise pollution in a novel way. Using a microphone, custom software, and a highly focused ultrasonic speaker (audio spotlight), it creates a personal sonic environment that can be experienced without the use of headphones.

Privaseat software records ambient noise and takes a spectral snapshot of the audible frequencies present in it. It identifies the most prominent frequencies and generates a custom DSP filter tuned to them. A masking signal is passed through this filter and projected from the spotlight speaker to the listener in the seat positioned below it.

This masking signal flattens the acoustic landscape as experienced in the seat, allowing someone sitting in it to focus on their work, or getting some sleep, rather than what’s happening around them.

The software is written in Objective C++ with OpenFrameworks and runs on iOS. It was displayed at the 2014 TED Conference in Vancouver, BC.


Client: Delta
Agency: WKNY
Production: Thinking Box
Software: Catherine McCurry
Creative Directors: Sean McLaughlin, John Parker
Creatives: Catherine McCurry, Andrew Jasperson