You're probably already familiar with those sound machines that promise to help you sleep by playing back sound clips that provide a sort of gimmicky "sound therapy". Now take that idea, remove the gimmick, apply an incredibly practical solution, and amplify the power of that sound to be able to fill a room, and you get Ecotones. More about Ecotones after the jump.
Think of Ecotones as a Sound Machine on steroids, it uses what they call "Adapative Sound Technology" to read the room and any distracting background noise and will then be able to to mask that noise using a selection of 12 "Soundstories". Some of the examples of the SoundStories include a crackling fireplace, relaxing fan, warming campfire, or even a restful train ride.
The President and Founder, Sam Nicolino Jr., created Ecotones after finding out his once quiet neighborhood was about to become the victim of endless traffic noise due to the completion of a new highway. To mask the noise, Sam, an electrical engineer, created a prototype (pictured above with current production model) that hid a built-in Sony Walkman CD player that stored the sounds which 12 years later can now be conveniently stored on flash memory.
What's really interesting is that the "SoundScapes" being played are completely dynamic. Ecotones reads the noise in the background and in its Adaptive mode creates a unique soundtrack that is generated on the fly. For example if you have the Nature's Meadow SoundStory playing it will randomly generate the tweet of a bird in the background and it will even lower its volume when it notices say the sound of a phone ringing or people talking.
The device can operate in 3 modes (adaptive, background, and manual) and Acquire actually got to sit down with the guys at Adaptive Sound Technologies and definitely came away most impressed by the "Adaptive" mode that you read about above. Overall, its a great device for anyone looking for a relaxing and peaceful distraction from noisy urban surroundings or even for someone who can't get through the rest of the day without noise of the big city which you can also queue up from the 12 available SoundStories.