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The Design of Urban Sound Monitoring Devices

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The urban sound environment of New York City is notoriously loud and dynamic. As such, scientists, recording engineers, and soundscape researchers continuously explore methods to capture and monitor such urban sound environments. One method to accurately monitor and ultimately understand this dynamic environment involves a process of long-term sound capture, measurement and analysis. Urban sound recording requires the use of robust and resilient acoustic sensors, where unpredictable external conditions can have a negative impact on acoustic data quality. Accordingly, this paper describes the design and build of a self-contained urban acoustic sensing device to capture, analyze, and transmit high quality sound from any given urban environment. This forms part of a collaborative effort between New York University’s (NYU) Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP) and the NYU Steinhardt School’s Citygram Project. The presented acoustic sensing device prototype incorporates a quad core Android based mini PC with Wi-Fi capabilities, a custom MEMS microphone and a USB audio device. The design considerations, materials used, noise mitigation strategies and the associated measurements are detailed in the following paper.

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