While fireworks might be a sign of celebration for humans, they don’t elicit quite the same reaction from dogs.
Dogs have a very acute sense of hearing, making some everyday events like fireworks and thunderstorms troublesome for canines, as they can be too loud for them.
However, Ford may have developed a solution with its noise-cancelling dog house.
The carmaker created a futuristic-looking dog kennel that uses noise-cancellation panels and Ford’s active noise control technology to create an insulated environment for pets.
It works similarly, in part, to noise-cancelling technology found in headphones in cars, according to Ford.
The company’s active noise control technology works by fighting noise with noise.
‘Once microphones inside the prototype kennel detect the sound of the fireworks, a built-in audio system emits opposing frequencies that in effect cancels out the noise completely – or at least reduces it significantly,’ Ford explained.
‘High-density cork, ideal for sound proofing was an integral part of the design.
‘…When microphones pick up high levels of noise from the engine or transmission, this is counteracted using opposing sound waves from the car’s audio system,’ the firm added.
In effect, it reduces the noise of fireworks to a level that doesn’t disturb dogs’ ultra-sensitive hearing, Ford said.
‘The result? No more stress for your pet,’ Ford explained.
‘A concept for now, but with the potential to mean a much better start to the year, both for your dog – and for you.’
In a video, the company showed what the structure is made out of, including noise-cancellation panels and the active noise control, which looks similar to speakers.
There’s also an automatic glass door, ‘anti-vibration block risers’ and sound-proof ventilation.
It turns out noise sensitivity is a big problem for many dogs.
A recent study by the University of Bern in Switzerland found that some 50 percent of dogs show signs of fear with fireworks, such as panting and getting anxious or nervous.
‘We wondered how the technologies we use in our cars could help people in other situations,’ Lyn West, marketing communications at Ford of Europe, said in a statement.
‘Making sure dogs and their owners could enjoy a stress-free New Year’s Eve seemed like the perfect application for our Active Noise Control system, and we have a few more ideas in progress as to how our everyday lives might benefit from a little Ford know-how.’
For now, Ford says the dog kennel is just a concept, meaning it’s not for sale.
The project is one of several initiatives that fall under Ford’s ‘Interventions’ series, which aim to take automotive tech and apply it to everyday problems.