Is that a sound I see?

The advance of technology never ceases to amaze me, although it constantly overwhelms me. Engineers can now see sound? You heard me right. Ford Motor Company is using a new technology that allows engineers to actually see unwanted sounds and eliminate them during vehicle development. The objective: to ensure that its new vehicles have the quietest interior cabins. Ford is the first automaker in North America to use the new Noise Vision tool - a small sphere equipped with more than 30 highly sensitive microphones and 12 special cameras that is placed inside the vehicle cabin. Powerful software reads data from Noise Vision and creates a computerized image showing interior noise “hot spots,” including wind noise, a squeak or rattle or unwanted feedback from the engine or the road. Vehicle engineers say the key element to interior quietness is to pinpoint the source and location of every unwanted sound. When it comes to car buying, third-party customer satisfaction studies show that automobile owners connect an ultra-quiet cabin with overall product quality and satisfaction, and quietness is one of the top reasons to buy a vehicle. Ford used to rely on trial and error to make a vehicle quieter, using a process of elimination. Noise Vision literally shows engineers where the noise is and allows them to eliminate it once and for all. No doubt Noise Vision type tools will find their way to other vehicle manufacturers. I think vehicle engineers have been dong a very good job of making vehicles quieter through the process-of-elimination technique. Today’s vehicles are considerably tighter and quieter than the cars and trucks I drove way back in the late 1970s. I wonder what technology has in store for us next? Got any ideas?