Deck The Halls With Sound-Proof Foam

Maren Tarro
3 min read
Deck the Halls With Sound-proof Foam
A photo of the type of chamber I was in, but not the actual one. Looks the same, though.
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Yesterday I went to my husband’s office Christmas party. This was no ordinary holiday shindig because he works at the Army Research Lab. It mostly sucked. Scheduled during the day, there was no booze, and it was very family-oriented. I skedaddled about the time the second act in the talent show took the stage. Total snooze. But before the talent show I did get to go on a pretty interesting tour around the facilities to see what it is my hubby does all day when he claims to be diligently working away.

Most of the tour focused on the project he works on. For whatever reason, this involved driving out into the middle of the desert to look at a test track, a tower that swayed dangerously in the wind and two Humvees. (I’m not a guy, so I don’t know how to spell that.)

The cool part was this giant steel box of a building that housed three chambers used to test stuff. The first chamber was a giant microwave. They use it to shoot radio waves at shit, or something like that. Standing inside it looked a lot like the inside of a giant microwave. There was some weird spinny thingie in the corner. I really wanted to put some popcorn on it but didn’t have the foresight to bring any along.

The second chamber was used to test other stuff—something that also involved shooting waves of something at stuff. The third chamber was the same just way huger. Huge enough to put helicopters in it, should the need arise. What was super cool about these two chambers was the decorating scheme. The walls, floor and ceiling were completely covered in really pointy foam panels. The foam was compressed into super dense spikes that apparently served to absorb sound. Besides looking really cool was the strange way the chambers made me feel. The sound-deadening effect caused my ears to feel as though they needed to pop. I tried to pop them, but they actually didn’t need to pop. My whole head felt a little separated from the rest of me.

Because the larger of the two chambers had a rubber floor beneath the spiky foam we viewed it from an above observation deck. (The tour guide guy was worried my high heels would puncture their overpriced floor.) From high above the foam-covered floor, I had to fight hard to not jump from the balcony. I really wanted to dive head first into all that foam. It would’ve been the highlight of my day and totally would’ve made up for the lack of booze.

Sorry, but no pictures. Stupid security policies.
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