Herman-Miller's Cone of Silence 1.0

Herman Miller Inc. wants to make it easier for private telephone conversations to remain private.

A device called Babble is the office furniture company's first foray into high-tech electronics. The wireless box duplicates and disassembles a user's voice before broadcasting it through a series of speakers to make phone conversations unintelligible to passers-by.


DeKruif said the burgeoning health care industry is the Zeeland-based company's most obvious customer for Babble.

"The industry has done a great job of managing paper, but there's nothing on the market to mask voice conversations," he said. "To this point, what we've seen is a piece of yellow tape on the floor and a sign that says "stand back.' That doesn't work very well."

DeKruif said the company expects Babble to also be attractive to lawyers and corporations that need to protect proprietary information in open work spaces.

A second generation Babble that protects face-to-face conversations in a similar fashion is in the works and will be marketed by Herman Miller.

(from this article)

I think that it's interesting H-M is moving away from just furnishing offices to thinking about the relationship the objects they make have, and can have, on the office environment, and I think it's interesting that they're thinking of specific markets and their needs. It seems intersting, but a product that is likely to be driven by the needs of upper management in a company, rather than the needs of the people on who are going to be using it, which I'm sure is going to limit its popularity.

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Babble is a wireless box that duplicates and disassembles your voice before broadcasting it through a series of speakers to make phone conversations unintelligible to passers-by. "It essentially turns one person's voice into something that sounds like ... Read More




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This page contains a single entry by Mike Kuniavsky published on May 22, 2005 11:51 PM.

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