Three students from Darmouth's Thayer School of Engineering got the prize for best student paper at the recent annual conference of the Institute of Noise Control Engineering (NOISE-CON '01) held this year in Portland, Maine. The three students, Efrosyni Seitaridou, Ayorkor Mills-Tettey, and Kenneth Kaliski, presented their paper entitled, "Low-complexity continuous noise monitoring system for communities, small airports, and remote areas," and demonstrated the prototype system which they had designed, developed, and tested for their coursework at Thayer School.
Quantitative noise monitoring is essential for developing and enforcing noise control measures at all levels of society. Communities are in need of simple, low-cost noise monitoring tools to devise and enforce local noise ordinances, while national and state parks are increasingly concerned with the mitigation and control of noise pollution caused by sightseeing aircraft, snowmobiles, and other machines used in remote areas.
The Thayer School noise monitoring system incorporates several unique features which combine to form a low-cost, portable, battery / solar-powered, user-friendly system which meets international noise measurement standards. The purpose of the system-contained in a small suitcase weighing less than 25 lbs-is mid-to-long-term storage of continuous one-second samples of acoustic and meteorological data in selected locations. This ability could fill, for example, the current need for monitoring aviation activity at regional airports. Indeed, the interests of the Lebanon Municipal Airport in this area served as the original motivation for the project.
Dartmouth has applied for a provisional patent on the new system which incorporates original sound analysis software for the characterization of noise events and identification of noise sources. Plans are underway to further develop the prototype system and bring it to the marketplace.
Also of note is the international makeup of this team effort. Efrosyni came here from Greece, and is a participant in Thayer School's undergraduate dual degree program on exchange from Smith College. Ayorkor is from Ghana, and is currently an M.S. candidate at Thayer School, and Kenneth has an A.B. from Dartmouth in environmental sciences and is a partner in Resource Systems Group, Inc. (an environmental consulting company in White River Junction, Vermont). He plans to complete his B.E. degree in the spring.
The group's faculty advisor is Robert Collier, Adjunct Professor of Engineering at Dartmouth. Collier specializes in acoustics, hearing protection, and environmental noise control. He is a member of the Lebanon Municipal Airport Advisory Committee which is concerned with airport and community noise issues in the Upper Valley.
Douglas Fraser, Research Engineer and laboratory instructor at Thayer School, provided guidance in electronic systems design and digital signal processing.
Harris, Miller, Miller, and Hansen Inc. of Burlington, Massachusetts, a leading environmental acoustics company, provided instrumentation and technical guidance as a corporate sponsor.