Noctua builds some very nice cooling gear, including several kinds of low-noise fans. We've spoken with the company at length about all the little things it does to reduce the noise output of its fans. Now, Noctua has partnered with RotoSub, a company that specializes in active noise cancellation. RotoSub's approach involves the generation of an "anti-sound" that cancels out the noise generated by a fan.
Unlike active noise cancellation techniques that rely on a speaker and microphone to capture sounds and produce their opposite, RotoSub uses the fan to generate its own anti-sound. RotoSub's site doesn't delve too deeply into how its technology works, but you can see it in action in the video below.
Noctua hopes the partnership will enable its NF-F12 fan to deliver "80% more airflow and 120% higher static pressure" at the same noise level. It could take 12-18 months to reach that goal, the company says, but a prototype will be on display at the Computex trade show next week. We'll be on the scene to check it out.
Active noise cancellation sounds like an interesting way to make fans quieter, although it's surely not cheap. Then again, Noctua's existing fans are relatively pricey, and they all have great user reviews on Newegg. I count over 360 reviews for five different fan models, all of which average five stars.