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Kevin Lee (Research Associate), Associate Professor Preston Wilson, Mark Wochner (CEO), Daniel Appel (Director of Business Development), and Larry Walker (Board of Directors) make up the research and management team at AdBm Technologies.

Kevin Lee (Research Scientist), Associate Professor Preston Wilson, Mark Wochner (CEO), Daniel Appel (Director of Business Development), and Larry Walker (Board of Directors) make up the research and management team at AdBm Technologies. AdBm Technologies that has just received a $100,000 grant from, a non-profit foundation.

AdBm Technologies logo

AdBm Technologies logo"

AdBm Technologies, derived from the term " Attenuation in dB per Meter" and pronounced "A D B M" has been selected from a field of 500 applicants to receive a $100,000 one-year grant to develop its underwater acoustic sound attenuation (gradual loss in intensity through a medium) technology. AdBm was co-founded in 2012 by three University of Texas at Austin scientists, Drs. Preston Wilson, Mark Wochner and Kevin Lee, (see AdBm People) who have been researching underwater noise abatement methods for three years under a contract with Shell Oil. Wilson is an Associate Professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department and had worked with Wochner and Lee when both were research scientists at Applied Research Laboratories (ARL), an acoustics laboratory affiliated with the university. Wochner left ARL in January 2013 and now serves as CEO of AdBm. Lee (still at ARL) and Wilson are involved in the research efforts at the university. Daniel Appel, a recent graduate of the McCombs MBA program, serves as the Director of Business Development.

The funding from is very important for AdBm's business development. Although supported by the Austin Technology Incubator (ATI), the Dell Founder's Club and the university's Texas Venture Labs, this is the first investment it has received, necessary to take it to the next level.

The research began when Shell Oil approached Wilson to develop a noise shield that would quiet their offshore activities. That led to the first three years of university research work. Shell is now funding AdBm directly for continued development and production of AdBm's commercial product called the SoundShield System, which is a customizable bubble curtain for underwater use.

The SoundShield technology

The SoundShield System uses encapsulated bubbles rather than freely-rising bubbles to attenuate noise. Think of encapsulated bubbles as balloons for the purposes of explanation. Balloons are not nearly rugged enough for a construction environment though, so the company has designed a system using rugged materials that makes the technology the most acoustically effective noise abatement system available.

They are able to tune resonance frequencies to a particular frequency range of noise that needs to be attenuated. The system has shown up to 50 dB of noise attenuation at targeted frequencies. The bubbles work well at attenuating frequencies well above resonance as well, but if the situation calls for a broadband attenuation system (with both high and low frequency sound), they can use encapsulated bubbles of various sizes to fill the gaps. Read more about noise and frequency.

The AdBm SoundShield advantages over existing systems

The system can be tailored to meet a particular noise attenuation need. More resonators equals more attenuation, but on a budget they can use fewer resonators to keep the costs low. In addition, this system is passive and silent. There are no air compressors and hoses, which means that installation is faster for the contractor. There is no depth limitation for the technology in terms of its effectiveness. It can be installed in either fresh or salt water, and is specifically designed for use in rivers with currents—a distinct advantage over competitive systems. Higher hydrostatic pressures at deeper depths are not a problem if accounting for it at the surface. For example, they just make the resonators 3x larger in volume at the surface if the hydrostatic pressure is going to compress the volume by 3x.


The research and company has been featured in numerous news stories in the past two years, including National Geographic, Scientific American, NPR, KUT, and several university publications, web, video and print. Please see some of these articles to find out more about this technology.

Publication Links, Date and Title
Scientific American: Less Bang, More Bubbles: Curtains of Air May Protect Fish from Noisy Human Activity, September 2011
UT Mechanical Engineering: Using Bubbles for Underwater Noise Reduction, October 2011
National Geographic: Bubble Curtains: Can They Dampen Offshore Energy Sound for Whales?, February 2012
KUT (Austin Public Radio): Reducing Sound Pollution to Help the Sea Creatures, March 2012
NPR (National Public Radio): With Noise Pollution Growing at Sea, A Texas Team Looks for Answers, March 2012
Austin Business Journal: Austin startups present at Venture Expo, May 2012
Cockrell School of Engineering: Quiet Please: Mitigating Underwater Noise, July 2012
Alcalde: Bubbles Below the Surface, September 2012
Texas Venture Labs: Jon Brumley Texas Venture Labs Selects 12 Startups for the Fall Semester, September 2012
Austin Technology Incubator: AdBm Technologies Wins $100,000 Grant from, June 2013
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