Login| Sign Up| Help| Contact|

Patent Searching and Data


Title:
MOVABLE BARRIER ACTUATING SYSTEM
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2021/181093
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
In accordance with a first aspect of the present invention, there is provided a movable barrier actuating system arranged to modify an opening partially bounded by a barrier, said movable barrier actuating system comprising: a first microphone configured to: detect a first noise source originating from a first environment, the first noise source comprising an acoustic signature and acoustic characteristics; a movable barrier actuator configured to actuate a corresponding movable barrier; a transmitter in communication with the first microphone arranged to transmit a first real-time acoustic spectrum representative of the first noise source; and a controller configured to: receive the real-time acoustic spectrum from the transmitter, the real- time acoustic spectrum comprising the acoustic signatures and the acoustic characteristics; and to transmit an actuation signal to the movable barrier actuator in response to the first real-time acoustic spectrum exceeding a predetermined threshold requirement, so as to modify said opening with actuation of the barrier.

Inventors:
RUANE VINCENT (GB)
Application Number:
PCT/GB2021/050594
Publication Date:
September 16, 2021
Filing Date:
March 10, 2021
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
RUANE CONSTRUCTION DESIGN AND CONSULTANCY (GB)
International Classes:
E05F15/71; E06B7/084
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MURGITROYD & COMPANY (GB)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A movable barrier actuating system arranged to modify an opening partially bounded by a barrier, said movable barrier actuating system comprising: a first microphone configured to: detect a first noise source originating from a first environment, the first noise source comprising an acoustic signature and acoustic characteristics; a movable barrier actuator configured to actuate a corresponding movable barrier; a transmitter in communication with the first microphone arranged to transmit a first real-time acoustic spectrum representative of the first noise source; and a controller configured to: receive the real-time acoustic spectrum from the transmitter, the real time acoustic spectrum comprising the acoustic signatures and the acoustic characteristics; and to transmit an actuation signal to the movable barrier actuator in response to the first real-time acoustic spectrum exceeding a predetermined threshold requirement, so as to modify said opening with actuation of the barrier.

2. The system of claim 1 , wherein the controller is further configured to: detect an unfavourable acoustic signature; and transmit the actuation signal in response to the detection of the unfavourable acoustic signature.

3. The system of claim 1 or 2, wherein the movable barrier actuating system further comprises a second microphone configured to: detect a second noise level associated with the second environment; and transmit, via a second transmitter, a second noise level signal representative of the second noise level to the controller. 4. The system as claimed in any of claims 1 to 3, wherein the controller ceases transmitting the actuation signal in response to the second noise level meeting an ambient soundscape threshold.

5. The system as claimed in any of claims 1 to 4, wherein the controller is in communication with a centralised unfavourable acoustic signature database configured to store unfavourable acoustic signatures, wherein the centralised unfavourable acoustic signature database comprises a learning module configured to identify unfavourable acoustic signals based on one selected from the range of: the continuous acoustic noise spectrum exceeding the predetermined threshold requirement or feedback from the second noise level signal.

6. The system according to any of claims 2 to 5, wherein the controller is further configured to transmit the actuation signal to the movable barrier actuator in response to receiving an acoustic signature that matches an unfavourable acoustic signature.

7. The system according to any of claims 3 to 6, wherein the movable barrier actuating system further comprises: a plurality of first microphones; a plurality of second microphones; and a plurality of movable barrier actuators.

8. The system of claim 7, wherein each of the plurality of first microphones is configured to cover one or more zones of the first environment.

9. The system of claim 7 or 8, wherein each of the plurality of second microphones is configured to cover one or more zones of the second environment.

10. The system according to any one of claims 7 to 9, wherein each of the plurality of movable barrier actuators corresponds to a predetermined movable barrier. 11. The system according to any one of claims 7 to 10, wherein each of the plurality of movable barriers correspond to one of the zones of the first environment.

12. The system according to any one of claims 7 to 11, wherein the controller comprises: a microcontroller; a processor; at least one input port arranged to facilitate the transfer of the first real-time noise spectrum from the plurality of first microphones and the second noise signals from the plurality of second microphones; at least one output port arranged to connect the controller to all first microphones, all second microphones and all movable barrier actuators; and a data connection.

13. The system according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the plurality of first microphones comprise protective features selected from the range of: heat/cold protection; weather protection; cover; or waterproofing.

14. The system of claim 12 or 13, wherein the processor is configured to perform a noise signal filtering algorithm.

15. The system according to any one of claims 12 to 14, wherein the input ports are further arranged to provide an input to the controller from one or more selected from the range of: a temperature sensor; a C02 sensor; a humidity sensor; an occupancy sensor; a rain sensor; and a wind sensor.

16. The system according to any one of claims 12 to 15, wherein there are a plurality of systems in communication with the centralised unfavourable acoustic signature database via the data connection.

17. The system according to any of the preceding claims wherein the controller further comprises a threshold module configured to generate the predetermined threshold requirement.

18. A movable barrier actuating method for providing noise mitigation between a first environment and a second environment wherein the method comprises the steps of: detecting, using a first microphone, a first noise source originating from the first environment, the first noise source comprising an acoustic signature and acoustic characteristics; transmitting, from a transmitter to a controller, a first real-time acoustic spectrum representative of the first noise; identifying, using the controller, that the acoustic characteristics exceed a predetermined threshold requirement; transmitting, from the controller to a movable barrier actuator, an actuation signal; and actuating, using the movable barrier actuator, a movable barrier upon receipt of the actuation signal such that the movable barrier is caused to move and the first noise source is attenuated such that the second environment is quieter.

19. The method of claim 18 further comprising the steps of: connecting, via a data connection, the controller to a centralised unfavourable acoustic signature database; sending, from the controller to the centralised unfavourable acoustic signature database, the acoustic signature; identifying, using a learning module, unfavourable acoustic signatures that correspond to acoustic signatures associated with first noise source signals comprising acoustic characteristics that exceed the predetermined threshold requirement; sending, from the centralised database to the controller, unfavourable acoustic signatures; and identifying, using the controller, acoustic signatures that match unfavourable acoustic signatures such that the controllers can recognise unfavourable signatures from the corresponding first environments and proactively send the actuation signal to the corresponding movable barrier actuator.

20. The method of claim 18 or 19, further comprising the steps of: detecting, using a second microphone, a second noise level associated with the second environment; sending, via a second transmitter to the controller, a second noise signal representative of the second noise level; and terminating, using the controller, the actuation signal if the second noise signal meets a predetermined ambient soundscape threshold.

21. A vent for use in the movable barrier actuating system of claims 1 to 17, the vent comprising: a first face; a damping portion in communication with the controller and proximate and parallel to the first face; an attenuating portion proximate and parallel to the damping portion; and a second face proximate and parallel to the attenuating portion; wherein the damping portion comprises: a plurality of movable barriers; and a plurality of movable barrier actuators configured to actuate the movable barriers; wherein the attenuating portion comprises an attenuation depth.

22. A vent according to claim 21, wherein the first face is any one selected from the range of: a grille; a weather louvre.

23. A vent according to claim 21 or claim 22, wherein the attenuation portion comprises a tessellated surface comprises an acoustically absorbent material.

24. A vent according to any one of claims 21 to 23, wherein the tessellated surface extends along the attenuation depth.

Description:
Movable Barrier Actuating System

Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a movable barrier actuating system for use in buildings that require natural ventilation. Particularly, the present invention relates to a reactive acoustic opening actuating system wherein the reactive acoustic opening actuating system actuates an opening in response to an unfavourable external noise.

Background

Using windows for natural ventilation is one of the oldest and most sustainable strategies for providing ventilation (and sometimes cooling) to buildings. Modern urban and rural environments often have significant background noise that enters internal spaces through open windows. This can cause disruption to occupants of buildings, preventing sound sleeping in residential properties or affecting educational outcomes in schools. This background noise can often be intermittent with amplitude peaks causing the most disruption. For example, a residential area situated under or near a flight path to a major airport will be subject to the disruptive noise of an aircraft. Such instances can be unpredictable and so are difficult to account for using current technology.

Currently methods of control for naturally ventilated internal spaces do exist. One such method involves measuring the temperature of the internal space and opening the window in response to a high internal temperature or closing the window in response to a low internal temperature. Further methods exist that provide control in response to fluctuations in internal CO 2 levels and internal moisture levels.

One issue of these existing methods is that they do not provide an improved internal acoustic environment in areas where there are loud intermittent noise sources.

It is therefore desirable to provide a means of providing control of naturally ventilated internal space in response to intermittent external noises that may be unfavourable to the internal environment. Summary of the Invention

In accordance with a first aspect of the present invention, there is provided a movable barrier actuating system arranged to modify an opening partially bounded by a barrier, said movable barrier actuating system comprising: a first microphone configured to: detect a first noise source originating from a first environment, the first noise source comprising an acoustic signature and acoustic characteristics; a movable barrier actuator configured to actuate a corresponding movable barrier; a transmitter in communication with the first microphone arranged to transmit a first real-time acoustic spectrum representative of the first noise source; and a controller configured to: receive the real-time acoustic spectrum from the transmitter, the real time acoustic spectrum comprising the acoustic signatures and the acoustic characteristics; and to transmit an actuation signal to the movable barrier actuator in response to the first real-time acoustic spectrum exceeding a predetermined threshold requirement, so as to modify said opening with actuation of the barrier.

It shall be appreciated by the skilled addressee that there may be more than one first noise sources.

The term “movable barrier” in the context of the present invention will be understood by the skilled addressee to describe a barrier separating the first environment and the second environment, the barrier being movable so as to either bound the opening to a greater or lesser degree such that the opening is either smaller or larger in area with respect to an initial bound position.

The “first environment” and “second environment” in the context of the present invention will be understood by the skilled addressee to be two environments separated by the movable barrier.

The term “acoustic signatures” in the context of the present invention will be understood by the skilled addressee to be a combination of acoustic emissions associated with unique sound emitters. The term “acoustic characteristics” in the context of the present invention will be understood by the skilled addressee to be any property of an acoustic wave associated with the first noise source.

In preferred embodiments, the predetermined threshold requirement is a predetermined amplitude threshold requirement. In this way, if the real-time acoustic spectrum comprises an amplitude that exceeds the predetermined amplitude threshold requirement (i.e. is too loud); the controller may transmit the actuation signal. Additional embodiments exist wherein the predetermined threshold requirement is a predetermined frequency or any other acoustic property threshold requirement. Further embodiments exist wherein the predetermined threshold requirement comprises a predetermined amplitude threshold requirement, predetermined frequency threshold requirement and any other predetermined acoustic property threshold requirement.

Preferably, the controller is further configured to detect an unfavourable acoustic signature and transmit the actuation signal in response to the detection of the unfavourable acoustic signature. The unfavourable acoustic signature will be understood by the skilled addressee to be the acoustic signature associated with the first noise source that comprises acoustic characteristics that have exceeded the predetermined threshold requirement. In this way, the controller may identify unique acoustic signatures associated with the first noise sources with acoustic characteristics that exceed the predetermined threshold requirement.

Preferably, the movable barrier actuating system further comprises a second microphone configured to detect a second noise level associated with the second environment and transmit, via a second transmitter, a second noise level signal representative of the second noise level to the controller.

Preferably, the controller ceases transmitting the actuation signal in response to the second noise level signal meeting an ambient soundscape threshold. The ambient soundscape threshold will be understood by the skilled addressed to be an acoustic characteristic threshold associated with the second noise level. In preferable embodiments, the ambient soundscape threshold is a minimum amplitude threshold such that the ambient soundscape amplitude reduces in magnitude and meets the minimum amplitude threshold. In this way, when the amplitude of the second noise level signal is lower than the minimum amplitude threshold, the controller will stop transmitting the actuation signal such that the movable barrier is no longer actuated.

Preferably, the controller is in communication with a centralised unfavourable acoustic signature database configured to store unfavourable acoustic signatures, wherein the centralised unfavourable acoustic signature database comprises a learning module configured to identify unfavourable acoustic signatures based on one selected from the range of: the continuous acoustic noise spectrum exceeding the predetermined threshold or feedback from the second noise level signal. The unfavourable acoustic signature will be understood by the skilled addressee to be the acoustic signature associated with the first noise source comprising an amplitude exceeding the predetermined amplitude threshold. Further examples of unfavourable acoustic signatures include acoustic signatures associated with first noise sources comprising a frequency exceeding a predetermined frequency threshold or any other acoustic characteristic exceeding a predetermined characteristic threshold. In this way, a first noise source that is too loud (i.e. exceeds the predetermined amplitude threshold) will have its associated acoustic signature stored in a centralised database of unfavourable noises. Further, the centralised unfavourable acoustic signature database may be updated as additional unfavourable noises are detected by the first microphone corresponding to additional first noise sources.

Preferably, the controller is further configured to transmit the actuation signal to the movable barrier actuator in response to receiving an acoustic signature that matches an unfavourable acoustic signature. In this way, the controller may match the acoustic signature of the real time continuous acoustic spectrum with a corresponding acoustic signature stored in the centralised unfavourable acoustic signals database. Further, the controller may transmit the actuation signal before the acoustic characteristic exceeds the predetermined threshold requirement such that the actuation signal is sent proactively.

Preferably, the movable barrier actuating system further comprises a plurality of first microphones, a plurality of second microphones and a plurality of movable barrier actuators. In this way, multiple locations may be covered and first microphones may be used to measure the real-time acoustic spectrum of the fist noise, multiple second microphones may be used to measure the second noise level of the second environment, and multiple movable barrier actuators may be used to actuate movable barriers.

Preferably, each of the plurality of first microphones is configured to cover one or more zones of the first environment. In this way, real-time acoustic spectrums originating from multiple first environment zones may be measured.

Preferably, each of the plurality of second microphones is configured to cover one or more zones of the second environment. In this way, each of the second microphones may cover more than one area of the second environment.

Preferably, each of the plurality of movable barrier actuators correspond to a predetermined movable barrier. In this way, each movable barrier actuator may actuate a unique movable barrier.

Preferably, each of the plurality of movable barriers correspond to one of the zones of the first environment. In this way, when one of the movable barriers is actuated, the real time continuous acoustic spectrum originating from the corresponding zone of the first environment may be attenuated.

Preferably, the controller comprises: a microcontroller; a processor; at least one input port arranged to facilitate the transfer of the first real time noise spectrum from the plurality of first microphones and the second noise signal from the plurality of second microphones; at least one output port arranged to connect the controller to all first microphones, all second microphones and all movable barrier actuators; and a data connection. In this way, each of the first microphones, each of the second microphones and each of the movable barrier actuators are controlled by a single, central controller.

Preferably, the plurality of first microphones comprise protective features selected from the range of: heat/cold protection; weather protection; cover; or waterproofing. In this way, the first microphones are protected from sources of damage or interference such as wind and rain. Further examples of sources of damage may exist. Preferably, the processor is configured to perform a noise signal filtering algorithm. In this way, the processor may filter out acoustic signals originating from ambient noise sources such as rain or wind. Further examples of ambient noise sources may exist.

Preferably, the input ports are further arranged to provide an input to the controller from one or more selected from the range of: a temperature sensor; a C02 sensor; a humidity sensor; an occupancy sensor; a rain sensor; and a wind sensor. In this way, the present invention may be incorporated into a composite C02, temperature, humidity and noise controlling product.

Preferably, there are a plurality of systems in communication with the centralised unfavourable acoustic signature database. In this way, additional separate systems may all contribute to building the unfavourable acoustic signature database such that an unfavourable acoustic signature detected on a first system may be used to cause the controller comprised in a second system to proactively transmit the actuation signal despite the unfavourable acoustic signature having never been detected before.

Preferably, the controller further comprises a threshold module configured to generate the predetermined threshold requirement. Preferably, the predetermined threshold requirement is generated based on a first environment ambient soundscape.

In accordance with a second aspect of the invention, there is provided a movable barrier actuating method for providing noise mitigation between a first environment and a second environment, wherein the method comprises the steps of: detecting, using a first microphone, a first noise source originating from the first environment, the first noise source comprising an acoustic signature and acoustic characteristics; transmitting, from a transmitter to a controller, a first real-time acoustic spectrum representative of the first noise source; identifying, using the controller, that the acoustic characteristics exceed a predetermined threshold requirement; transmitting, from the controller to a movable barrier actuator, an actuation signal; and actuating, using the movable barrier actuator, a movable barrier upon receipt of the actuation signal such that that the movable barrier is caused to move and the first noise source is attenuated such that the second environment is quieter.

Preferably, the movable barrier actuating method further comprises the steps of: connecting, via a data connection, the controller to a centralised unfavourable acoustic signature database; sending, from the controller to the centralised unfavourable acoustic signature database, the acoustic signature; identifying, using a learning module, unfavourable acoustic signatures that correspond to acoustic signatures associated with first noise source signals comprising acoustic characteristics that exceed the predetermined threshold requirement; sending, from the centralised database to the controller, unfavourable acoustic signatures; and identifying, using the controller, acoustic signatures that match unfavourable acoustic signatures such that the controllers can recognise unfavourable signatures from the corresponding first environments and proactively send the actuation signal to the corresponding movable barrier attenuator.

Preferably, the movable barrier actuating method further comprises the steps of: detecting, using a second microphone, a second noise level associated with the second environment; sending, via a second transmitter to the controller, a second noise signal representative of the second noise level; and terminating, using the controller, the actuation signal if the second noise signal meets a predetermined soundscape threshold.

In accordance with a third aspect of the present invention, a vent for use in the movable barrier actuating system is envisaged. The vent may comprise a first face; a damping portion in communication with the controller and proximate and parallel to the first face; an attenuating portion proximate and parallel to the damping portion; and a second face proximate and parallel to the attenuating portion. The damping portion may comprise: a plurality of movable barriers; and a plurality of movable barrier actuators configured to actuate the movable barriers; wherein the attenuating portion comprises an attenuation depth. In this way, in response to the first real-time acoustic spectrum exceeding the predetermined threshold requirement, the plurality of movable barriers may be actuated. Advantageously, acoustic signals originating from the first environment comprising amplitude spikes may be attenuated. The components of the above vent have been described separately. The skilled addressee will understand that said components may be connected or integrated.

Preferably, the first face corresponds to the first environment and the second face corresponds to the second environment. In this way, the vent may connect the first and second environments.

Preferably, the first face is any one selected from the range of: a grille; a weather louvre. The skilled addressee will understand that the first face may be any component suitable for allowing passage whilst stopping rain from penetrating through to the other grille components. In this way, air may pass through the vent whilst rain or other undesirable weather effects may be stopped.

In some embodiments, the attenuation portion comprises a tessellated surface having an acoustically absorbent material. The absorbent material may be mineral fibres. The mineral fibres may extend along the attenuation depth. The skilled addressee will appreciate that any absorbent material suitable for attenuating acoustic signals may be used. In this way, lower amplitude acoustic signals may be attenuated. Advantageously, acoustic signals comprising a noise profile with few peaks may be attenuated.

In some embodiments, the second face is a uniform surface configured to protect the damping portion and the attenuating portion from disturbances originating from the second environment.

Detailed Description

Specific embodiments will now be described by way of example only, and with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1A shows a perspective view of a building comprising a movable barrier actuating system having movable windows in accordance with a first aspect of the present invention; FIG. 1B shows a schematic view of a control arrangement of the movable barrier actuating system in accordance with the first aspect of the present invention;

FIG. 2 shows a schematic view of the movable barrier actuating method in accordance with the second aspect of the present invention;

FIG. 3 shows a visual description of an ambient soundscape and threshold generation algorithm;

FIG. 4 shows a perspective view of a vent according to the third aspect of the present invention;

FIG. 5A shows a schematic view of a building comprising a movable barrier actuating system according to the first and third aspect of the present invention having movable windows and vents according to FIG. 4;

FIG. 5B shows a schematic view of a control arrangement of the movable barrier actuating system in accordance with the first and third aspect of the present invention as shown in FIG. 5A; and

FIG. 6 shows a schematic view of the movable barrier actuating method in accordance with the second and third aspects of the present invention.

Referring to FIG. 1A, a perspective view of a building 102 comprising a movable barrier actuating system 100 having movable windows according to the first aspect of the present invention is shown. In the example shown, the building 102 comprises walls W’, W”. The building 102 further comprises, a number of rooms 112, 128, a number of movable barriers 104, 114, 118, 122, the movable barriers 104, 114, 118, 122 being windows 104, 114, 118, 122, a number of first microphones 132, 134, the first microphones 132, 134 being external microphones 132, 134, a number of second microphones 136, 138, the second microphones 136, 138 being internal microphones 136, 138, and a controller 140. A first window 104 is configured to be in mechanical communication with a first window actuator 106. The first window 104 is arranged in communication with a first room 112. The first window 104 is arranged to open outwardly along an axis 110.

A second window 114 is configured to be in mechanical communication with a second window actuator 116. A third window 118 is configured to be in mechanical communication with a third window actuator 120. Both the second window 114 and the third window 118 are arranged in communication with the first room 112. The second window 114 and the third window 118 are both arranged to open outwardly along an axis 126.

A fourth window 122 is configured to be in mechanical communication with a fourth window actuator 124. The fourth window 122 is arranged in communication with a second room 128. The fourth window 122 is arranged to open outwardly along the axis 126.

A first external microphone 132 is located on an external face 108 of wall W’. The first external microphone 132 comprises a first transmitter.

A second external microphone 134 is located on an external face 130 of wall W”. The second external microphone comprises a second transmitter.

A first internal microphone 136 is located on an internal face of the first room 112. The first internal microphone 136 comprises a third transmitter.

A second internal microphone 138 is located on an internal face of the second room 128. The second internal microphone comprises a fourth transmitter.

The controller 140 is arranged in digital communication with the first window actuator 106, the second window actuator 116, the third window actuator 120, the fourth window actuator 124, the first external microphone 132, the second external microphone 134, the first internal microphone 136 and the second internal microphone 138. A first external source 142 comprises a first amplitude and a first acoustic signature. The first external microphone 132 is arranged along the axis 110 to collect the component of the first external source 142 propagating along the axis 110.

A second external source 144 comprises a second amplitude and a second acoustic signature. The second external microphone 134 is arranged along the axis 126 to collect the component of the second external source 144 propagating along the axis 126.

The movable barrier actuating system 100 further comprises a central database 146 in digital communication with the controller 140.

In a further embodiment, multiple systems 100 are in communication with the central database 146.

Turning now to FIG. 1B, there is shown a schematic view 150 of a control arrangement of the movable barrier actuating system 100 in accordance with the first aspect of the present invention as shown in FIG. 1A. The first external microphone 132 comprises a first transmitter 152 in digital communication with the controller 140. The second external microphone 134 comprises a second transmitter 154 in digital communication with the controller 140. The first internal microphone 136 comprises a third transmitter 156 in digital communication with the controller 140. The second internal microphone 138 comprises a fourth transmitter 158 in digital communication with the central controller 140.

The controller is in further digital communication with the first window actuator 106, the second window actuator 116, the third window actuator 120, the fourth window actuator 124 and the central database 146

In use and with reference to FIG. 2, for the first room 112, the first external microphone 132 detects 202 the first amplitude and first acoustic signature of the first external source 142. In addition, the second external microphone 134 detects 202 the second amplitude and second acoustic signature of the second external source 144. The first transmitter 152 transmits 204 the first amplitude and first acoustic signature to the controller 140. The second transmitter 154 transmits 204 the second amplitude and second acoustic signature to the controller 140.

Simultaneously, the first internal microphone 136 detects 222 a first ambient noise amplitude and the third transmitter 156 transmits 224 the first ambient noise amplitude to the controller 140.

The controller 140 identifies 206 that the first amplitude has exceeded a first amplitude threshold. Further, the controller 140 identifies 206 that the second amplitude has exceeded a second amplitude threshold.

If the first amplitude exceeds the first amplitude threshold, the controller 140 transmits 208 a first actuation signal to the first window actuator 106. If the second amplitude exceeds the second amplitude threshold, the controller 140 transmits 208 a second actuation signal and a third actuation signal to the second window actuator 116 and the third window actuator 120 respectively.

Upon receipt of the first actuation signal, the first window actuator 106 begins to actuate 210 the first window 104 such that the first window 114 extends a reduced distance along the axis 110.

Upon receipt of the second actuation signal, the second window actuator 116 begins to actuate 210 the second window 114 such that the second window 114 extends a reduced distance along the axis 110.

Upon receipt of the third actuation signal, the third window actuator 120 begins to actuate the third window 118 such that the third window 118 extends a reduced distance along the axis 110.

Simultaneously, the controller 140 identifies 220 that the first ambient noise amplitude has reached a first ambient noise threshold. If the first ambient noise amplitude has reached the first ambient noise threshold, then the controller 140 will terminate 226 the transmission of the first actuation signal, the second actuation and the third actuation signal such that the first window 104, the second window 114 and the third window 118 no longer close and ventilation is still possible.

In use for the second room 128 and with reference to FIG. 2, the second external microphone 134 detects 202 the second amplitude and the second acoustic signature of the second external source 144.

The second transmitter 154 transmits 208 the second amplitude and second acoustic signature to the controller 140. Simultaneously, the second internal microphone 138 detects 222 a second ambient noise amplitude and the fourth transmitter 158 transmits the second ambient noise amplitude to the controller 140.

The controller 140 identifies that the second amplitude has exceeded the second amplitude threshold. If the second amplitude exceeds the amplitude threshold, the controller transmits 208 a fourth actuation signal to the fourth window actuator 124.

Upon receipt of the fourth actuation signal, the fourth window actuator 124 begins to actuate 210 the fourth window 122 such that the fourth window 122 extends a reduced distance along the axis 126.

Simultaneously, the controller 140 identifies 220 that the second ambient noise amplitude has reached a second ambient noise threshold. If the second ambient noise amplitude has reached the second ambient noise threshold, then the controller 140 will terminate 226 the transmission of the fourth actuation signal such that the fourth window 122 no longer closes along the axis 126 and ventilation is still possible.

The controller 140 sends 214 all external noise signatures, as well as noise amplitudes corresponding to said noise signatures to the central database 146 via a data connection 148.

The central database 146 stores all external noise signatures. The central database 146 further comprises a self-learning module 147. The self-learning module 147 will identify 206 all noise signatures that have a corresponding noise amplitude exceeding the noise amplitude threshold as a disruptive noise signature. The central database 146 sends 218 the disruptive noise signatures to the controller 140. If an acoustic signature originating from one of the external sources 142, 144 is detected 202 by one of the external microphones 132, 134 and is identified 220 by the controller 140 as matching one of the disruptive noise signatures, the controller 140 will transmit 208 the appropriate actuating signal to the window actuators 106, 116, 120, 124 corresponding to the external source 142, 144. This may occur before the external noise source 142, 144 exceeds the predetermined amplitude threshold.

Turning now to FIG. 3, there is shown a visual description of an example ambient soundscape and threshold generation algorithm.

A threshold module comprised in the controller 140 generates a first environment ambient soundscape corresponding to the first environment. In this embodiment, the first environment ambient soundscape is an external ambient soundscape and the first environment is an external environment. The external ambient soundscape is generated by generating a running mean value A M3 of amplitudes A A over a time period T. A predetermined amplitude threshold A MQ is generated based on the running mean value A M3 . An external amplitude limit Ai_ e is generated based on the running mean value A M3 .

In use, an external noise source 142 generates an amplitude A T over the time period T. At time Ti, the amplitude A T of the external noise source 142 exceeds the predetermined amplitude threshold A MQ . The controller 140 transmits the actuation signal to the window actuator 106 such that the window 104 begins to actuate. At time T2, the amplitude A T of the external noise 142 meets the external noise limit Ai_ e , at which point the window 104 is fully actuated. At time T 3 , the amplitude A T of the external noise source 142 has reduced to below the external amplitude limit Ai_ e , at which point the controller 140 begins to transmit the actuation signal such that the window 104 begins opening.

Peaks in frequency that don’t cause the overall amplitude A T to exceed the predetermined amplitude threshold A M or the external amplitude limit Ai_ e will still cause the controller 140 to transmit the actuation signal if the frequency exceeds a predetermined frequency threshold (not shown) which will be greater for the lower and higher ends of the frequency spectrum. All external noise sources 142, 144 that have instances of the amplitude A T exceeding the predetermined amplitude/frequency threshold will have their acoustic signatures recorded and stored within the centralised unfavourable acoustic signature database 146.

The acoustic signature of the external noise source will always be compared against all unfavourable acoustic signatures stored within the centralised unfavourable acoustic signature database. If the signatures match, then the controller 140 will transmit the actuation signal as per the previous iteration of the acoustic signature.

The internal microphone 136 refines the controller 140 reaction by providing a feedback loop so as to indicate the impact of the externally measured noise source 142.

Turning now to FIG. 4, there is shown a perspective view of a vent 400 according to the third aspect of the present invention.

The vent 400 comprises a first face 402, a damping portion 404, an attenuating portion 406 and a second face 408. The vent 400 is installed within a wall (not shown) and connects a first environment (not shown) to a second environment (not shown).

The first face 402 is a grille 402 and is configured to face the first environment. In the present embodiment, the first environment is an external environment.

The attenuating portion 406 comprises a plurality of rotatable flaps 405 and a plurality of flap actuators 407. Each flap actuator 410 is connected to one of the rotatable flaps 408. Also, each flap actuator 410 is in electrical communication with the controller 140.

The attenuating portion 406 comprises a tessellated surface 412 and an attenuating depth AD of 15 cm. The tessellated surface 412 consists of mineral fibres arranged in a number of geometric shapes. The geometric shapes are arranged parallel to a direction of airflow through the vent 400. The second face 408 is a grille 408 and is configured to face the second environment. In the present embodiment, the second environment is an internal environment.

Turning now to FIG. 5, there is shown a schematic view of a building 502 comprising a movable barrier actuating system 500 in accordance with the first and third aspect of the present invention, having movable windows and vents in according to FIG. 4.

The building 502 is substantially similar to the building 102. The building 502 comprises the first wall w’, the second wall w”, the first room 112, the second room 128, the first window 104, the second window 114, the first external microphone 132, the second external microphone 134, the first internal microphone 136, the second internal microphone 138, the controller 140, a first vent 540, a second vent 542, a third vent 544 and a fourth vent 546.

The windows 104, 114 each comprise a respective window actuator 106, 116.

The vents 540, 542, 544, 546 each comprise a respective plurality of rotatable flaps 540A, 542A, 544A, 546A, and a respective plurality of flap actuators 540B, 542B, 544 B, 546 B.

The first window 104 and the first vent 540 are configured to allow communication between a first zone and the first room 112.

The second vent 542, the third vent 544 and the second window 114 are configured to allow communication between a second zone and the first room 112.

The fourth vent 544 is configured to allow communication between the second zone and the second room 128.

The controller 140 is arranged in digital communication with the first window actuator 106, the second window actuator 116, and the flap actuators 540B, 542B, 544B, 546 B. A first external source 542 comprises a first amplitude and a first acoustic signature. The first external microphone 132 is arranged along the axis 110 to collect the component of the first external source 142 propagating along the axis 110.

A second external source 544 comprises a second amplitude and a second acoustic signature. The second external microphone 134 is arranged along the axis 126 to collect the component of the second external source 144 propagating along the axis 126.

The movable barrier actuating system 500 further comprises the central database (not shown) in digital communication with the controller 140.

In a further embodiment, multiple systems 500 are in communication with the central database.

Turning now to FIG. 5B, there is shown a schematic view 550 of a control arrangement of the movable barrier actuating system 500 in accordance with the first and third aspect of the present invention as shown in FIG. 5A.

The first external microphone 132 comprises the first transmitter 152 in digital communication with the controller 140. The second external microphone 134 comprises the second transmitter 154 in digital communication with the controller 140. The first internal microphone 136 comprises the third transmitter 156 in digital communication with the controller 140. The second internal microphone 138 comprises the fourth transmitter 158 in digital communication with the central controller 140.

The controller is in further digital communication with the first window actuator 106, the second window actuator 116, and the flap actuators 540B, 542B, 544B, 546B.

In use and with reference to FIG. 6, for the first room, the attenuating portion (not shown) of the first vent 540 attenuates low amplitude acoustic signals originating from the first zone. In addition, the attenuating portions (not shown) of the second vent 542 and the third vent 544 attenuate low amplitude acoustic signals originating from the second zone. The first external microphone 132 detects 602 the first amplitude and first acoustic signature of the first external source 142. In addition, the second external microphone 134 detects 602 the second amplitude and second acoustic signature of the second external source.

The first transmitter 152 transmits 604 the first amplitude and first acoustic signature to the controller 140. The second transmitter 154 transmits 604 the second amplitude and second acoustic signature to the controller 140.

Simultaneously, the first internal microphone 136 detects 622 a first ambient noise amplitude and the third transmitter 156 transmits 624 the first ambient noise amplitude to the controller 140.

The controller 140 identifies 606 that the first amplitude has exceeded a first amplitude threshold. Further, the controller 140 identifies 606 that the second amplitude exceeds a second amplitude threshold.

If the first amplitude exceeds the first amplitude threshold, the controller 140 transmits 608 a first actuation signal to the first window actuator 106 and the flap actuators 540B. If the second amplitude exceeds the second amplitude threshold, the controller 140 transmits 608 a second actuation signal to the second window actuator 116 and the flap actuators 542B, 544B.

Upon receipt of the first actuation signal, the first window actuator 106 begins to actuate 210 the first window 104 such that the first window 114 extends a reduced distance along the axis 110. Simultaneously, the flap actuators 540B begin to actuate the flaps 540A such that the flaps extend a reduced distance along the axis 110.

Upon receipt of the second actuation signal, the second window actuator 116 begins to actuate 610 the second window 114 such that the second window 114 extends a reduced distance along the axis 126. Simultaneously, the flap actuators 542B, 544B begin to actuate 610 the flaps 540A, 542A respectively such that the flaps 540A, 542A extend a reduced distance along the axis 126. Simultaneously, the controller 140 identifies 620 that the first ambient noise amplitude has reached a first ambient noise threshold. If the first ambient noise amplitude has reached the first ambient noise threshold, then the controller 140 will terminate 626 the transmission of the first actuation signal and the second actuation such that the first window 104, the second window 114, the flaps 540A, the flaps 542A, and the flaps 546A no longer close and ventilation is still possible.

In use for the second room 128 and with reference to FIG. 2, the attenuating portion (not shown) of the fourth vent 546 attenuates low amplitude acoustic signals originating from the second zone.

The second external microphone 134 detects 602 the second amplitude and the second acoustic signature of the second external source 144.

The second transmitter 154 transmits 608 the second amplitude and second acoustic signature to the controller 140. Simultaneously, the second internal microphone 138 detects 622 a second ambient noise amplitude and the fourth transmitter 158 transmits the second ambient noise amplitude to the controller 140.

The controller 140 identifies 606 that the second amplitude has exceed the second amplitude threshold. If the second amplitude exceeds the amplitude threshold, the controller transmits 608 a third actuation signal to the flap actuators 546B.

Upon receipt of the third actuation signal, the flap actuators 546B begin to actuate 610 the flaps 546A such that the flaps 546A extend a reduced distance along the axis 126.

Simultaneously, the controller 140 identifies 620 that the second ambient noise amplitude has reached a second ambient noise threshold. If the second ambient noise amplitude has reached the second ambient noise threshold, then the controller 140 will terminate 626 the transmission of the fourth actuation signal such that the flaps 546A no longer close along the axis 126 and ventilation is still possible. The controller 140 sends 214 all external noise signatures, as well as noise amplitudes corresponding to said noise signatures to the central database (not shown) via a data connection (not shown).

The central database stores all external noise signatures. The central database further comprises a self-learning module. The self-learning module identifies 606 all noise signatures that have a corresponding noise amplitude exceeding the noise amplitude threshold as a disruptive noise signature. The central database sends 618 the disruptive noise signatures to the controller 140. If an acoustic signature originating from one of the external sources 142, 144 is detected 602 by one of the external microphones 132, 134 and is identified 620 by the controller 140 as matching one of the disruptive noise signatures, the controller 140 will transmit 608 the appropriate actuating signal to the window actuators 106, 116 and the flap actuators 540B, 542B, 544B, 546B corresponding to the external source 142, 144. This may occur before the external noise source 142, 144 exceeds the predetermined amplitude threshold.

It will be appreciated that the above-described embodiments are given by way of example only and that various modifications may be made to the described embodiments without departing from the scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims. For example, the described embodiments refer to the amplitude and acoustic signature of the noise source but these are interchangeable with any other acoustic wave properties, such as frequency or direction. In addition, whilst the above embodiments describe a single sound source corresponding to each wall, there may be significant overlap between the sources or there could be multiple sound sources corresponding to each wall. Further, there could be any number of components. In addition, the first and second environments could both be within a building, for example between a first room and a second room. It shall be appreciated that in the case that the first and second environments are a first room and second room respectively, both the first face and the second face of the vent may be a grille.

It will be appreciated by the skilled addressee that the method steps outlined above describe a single noise source, a single window and a single window actuator and the method may be used for a plurality of windows/ hatches/ openings bounded by doors, window actuators and noise sources.

It will be appreciated by the skilled addressee that the window movement/actuation could be closely related in time, together or simultaneously.