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Acoustic Panels

Reuse materials to create high end acoustic (sound cancellation) panels

Photo of Claude Sutterlin
24 27

Written by

Acoustic panels are largely made out of foams, rubbers and other sound absorbing materials such as are found in recycled shoes. Acoustic panels are frequently used by people who are passionate about high quality products and the Nike ecosystem: audiophiles and music producers/artists. Although these panels are cheap to make, and the key purchasers will have an attraction to using a product from a premium brand like Nike (and value the novelty of pursuing their passion while surrounded by recycled materials others used to pursue their passion). 

Which Nike Grind materials will your idea utilize?

  • Rubber Outsoles
  • Rubber Granulate
  • EVA Foam Injection Scraps
  • EVA Foam Sheets & Blocks
  • EVA Foam Components
  • Laminated EVA Foam
  • Laminated PU Foam
  • Mixed Footwear Textile

How specifically will these materials be incorporated into your solution?

We think there can be three different variants to this idea from the start. #1 is ABSORB, which is 85% mixed footwear textile, 5% rubber granulate, 5% EVA foam scraps, 5% EVA foam components. This would be designed to be put in walls as "typical" sound insulation in private and public spaces. #2 is AMPLIFY, which is 50% mixed footwear textile, 25% laminated PU foam, 25% foam sheets and blocks. This would be placed as sound absorption and reflection panels, as in an airport or public space. This would absorb low frequency sounds while reflecting higher frequencies. #3 is called REFLECT and is 100% foam cored (EVA and PU), covered (via glue) of rubber granulate. This would be ideal for movie theaters, home theaters, within speakers, or anywhere where you want to shape the audio experience. We would use the prototyping phase to confirm our math is right and the variations work as we intend them to.

What is the current stage of development of your idea?

  • Research & Early Testing

Describe your target market. Who will benefit from your product?

Cinemas/theaters, music producers, musical artists, podcasters, voice actors, gamers, etc.

How is your idea innovative?

It's using recycled materials to produce a high quality version of an existing product with a proven market.

In what city are you located?

Hudson, Ohio

In what country are you located?

USA

What is your legal / organizational structure? (if applicable)

Sole Proprietor

24 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Laura Stucki
Team

Hi Claude,
Great idea you've submitted!
I was wondering if you've considered using these panels in other industries than the music one? I'm thinking broader like cinemas, theaters, large venues (exhibitions ones), stations, airports, schools, etc.

What do you think?

Kindly, Laura

Photo of Claude Sutterlin
Team

I love the theater/cinema idea! It would take some market research (for example, how many theaters are built yearly, how frequently do they update their sound insulation, etc) but regardless, it definitely brings in a larger market.

Photo of Josh Ehrenreich
Team

I really like the addition of schools here. School cafeterias can be so noisy and I could imagine that the grind material, when fused together, could create some really interesting patterns that might fit well in that environment. Additionally, this would allow you a range of markets where the importance on 'perfect' sound insulation could vary. Great thoughts Laura and Claude.

Photo of Our Workshop
Team

how to transport everything is what I'm wondering now - after the initial FABULOUSNESS of pure thinking and ideation

Photo of Our Workshop
Team

Hi. there are quite some 'panel' solutions offered in these submissions... Our Workshop's proposal too offers this as a part of it's thinking. I'm wondering if all the knowledge from all the panel thinkers could become a shared resource....

Photo of Dahalia Jackson
Team

Great idea! The possibilities are endless for how these panels may be used in different settings.

Photo of Kasey
Team

look dope bro

Photo of Marco Angeles
Team

Interesting concept,

Just a side note, based on the webinar, Nike is not looking to produce the ideas per se, so a Nike branded acoustics board may not align with their typical products.

Photo of Joe Sterne
Team

That's a good point. We don't have to have it branded if it doesn't make sense - or not make the branding visible to an average user?

Photo of Lauren Ito
Team

Hi Claude Sutterlin ,

Really curious to hear more about this idea for acoustic panels. Looking ahead, you might consider helping the OpenIDEO community better grasp how this idea could play out by describing the next steps! What are some the next and timeline to bring your idea to market?

Tagging in community Nike Grind Challenge community member and curious mind, Aakar Mehra to provide some feedback/questions for your concept.

Looking forward to learning more.

Photo of Aakar Mehra
Team

Thanks Lauren Ito for tagging me here. I think this was the first idea that I really liked as a concept but was waiting on some more updates and sketches from Claude Sutterlin .

The idea overall can be very useful in various locations and scenarios. I like to think that we should always try to design for the extreme conditions, that way we will make the daily use feel super effective. In this case, it would be really good to think about how we can help people with Autism, ADHD, patients in a hospitals, rehab clinics etc., by providing a comfortable environment for them.
Another important aspect that I found in my research for this project, is to figure out how do we actually use the Nike Grind material in such insulation type panels. One way is to create a solid mat/panel out of the various material using some sort of fusion material (involves lots of energy). Another way is to create an outer panel structure and stuff the materials in it, without fusing together. There are pros and cons for both, but in either case there is low to almost no potential circularity of the grind material used. Once you install the panel, it will stay there for a long time till the space is torn apart/broken down completely. Based on my understanding, there is no potential recovery at that point to reuse the material and it has to end up in a landfill. So we have helped the community in one way but not created a full circular design. That will also reduce the potential sustainable business that Nike can do with the grind material.
I think as designers, if we can come up with fully integrated and circular solution for these materials, that would be the ideal case.
Would love to hear more here and also on my submission Make Your Own Bedding! 

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard
Team

Interesting idea Claude! I like the 3-stages approach (when it comes to products and markets) and how you thought of broadening beyond the music industry. I wonder how big would be these panels and what is used today? Are you planning to replace existing products or creating a new demand? (Sorry I'm not an expert in acoustic panels.). I think Aakar Mehra posed an important question regarding the possibility of recycling this panel.

Photo of Joe Sterne
Team

I think we could tackle this from both angles - both replacing panels as well as adding new ones. They could be anywhere where is the a desire for acoustic paneling. I think we could fuse/glue the foam - that is one part that we would need to test more with the Nike team. I think this could be a great addition to many school gyms across the country!

Photo of Lauren Ito
Team

Joe Sterne  and Aakar Mehra  great to see you two connecting! I love the emphasis on circularity, and how they might be recycled. Joe one point I do want to emphasize is that the products would not be created in collaboration with Nike. This Challenge is to source product innovations and ventures that would function independently of Nike, while using the Nike Grind materials. With this in mind, how might you test the fusing/gluing? Additionally, Claude Sutterlin can you please begin building out your idea by answering all the questions on the submission form?

Please let me know if you need any additional clarification!

Excited to see the evolution of your concept and continued feedback/questions on others' posts!

Photo of Joe Sterne
Team

Lauren Ito  thank you for the clarification! Yeah, we would use our own glue mixture and try fusing materials using an oven/outdoor heating source. I'm not sure the best way to get these objects to stick to each other (especially this mixture) so that is where I would look to get advice from Nike on what they use/recommend. Either way, we are excited to test this idea!

Photo of Larry Mcmurray
Team

This idea makes sense for use in airports and other large noise polluted terminals.

Photo of Joe Sterne
Team

Thanks for the feedback!

Photo of Jurijs Kovzels
Team

Love the idea!

We recently moved to the office and suffer severely from echo and reverberation. I think you can easily extend the target market to any business with offices, meeting and conference rooms.

Here some ideas for consideration:
1. Highlight the nature of materials. Fasten the pieces of source material just enough to keep them together. Benefits are twofold. Firstly, irregularities of the material and surface help diffuse and absorb sound waves. Secondly, speaking of in-office application, it will distinguish this product from what is on the market now, give a good talking point to guests of the office or meeting room. Panels can be lets unpainted or spray-painted to much office style.
2. Create thinner and lighter version of the panel for ceiling mounting. They can be flexible enough to sag and take the form of a sail.

I wish you bes of luck with this idea, and if you are willing to collaborate on it, I am open to it.

Photo of Joe Sterne
Team

Jurijs,
Thank you for the great feedback! Yeah, we would love to offer an option where you can see the glued/fused together panel "naked" - opposed to covered (as seen in our mockup). As the foam thickness (for the ceiling panels), it depends on the foam scrap size we can use. I'm sure we could grind stuff down to a specific thickness. As for helping out, we'll let you know!

Photo of Victoria
Team

This is interesting because I would not have thought of this. I look forward to seeing how your testing comes out because if this indeed does work and can be used in things like movie theaters, this is certainly a plus on using these recyclable items in bulk for a purpose that would otherwise use a large absorption of items.

Photo of Joe Sterne
Team

Thanks for the feedback!

Photo of An Old Friend
Team

Hi Claude,
As a commercial Interior Designer, I work in specifying furniture constantly - sometimes that includes acoustics in everything from Schools, Small Businesses, to Corporate Offices (with workstation panels coming down, and an open work environment, the well-being of employees can directly correlate to the noise-cancelling properties of a well designed environment.) I would expand your reach to any environment that could benefit from proper acoustics. Great idea!

All my best,
Matthew

Photo of Claude Sutterlin
Team

Hey Matthew

Good callout there. I work in an open office environment and definitely feel the pain of noise pollution from time to time. I've never heard of how companies combat the problem, so that's an interesting point. Definitely something else for us to do some research on to expand the market reach.

Thank you!

Photo of OpenIDEO
Team

Hi Claude Sutterlin ,

Great to see you diving into the Challenge. It'd be helpful to learn a bit more about how this idea would work by adding more content to the Full Description part of your post. To update your post, hit the Edit Contribution button at the top of your post. Then click Save after you're done updating.

Excited to see more!