ANC is a method of reducing undesired noise by adding a second sound wave designed to cancel the first. The concept is primarily used for headphones and microphones but Noctua wants to use it to make fans that sound more desirable than what's currently on the market. Fans with ANC will be able to deliver a better performance/perceived noise ratio than conventional fans.
Noctua's ANC technology records fan noise via a microphone, these sound waves are inverted and send to speakers that output noise that interferes destructively with the noise output of the fan, reducing its amplitude.
TPU visited Noctua at Computex and got to see the company's latest prototypes. Noctua has made big progress, not only in creating components that can be integrated into fan designs but also in running manufacturing test-runs that confirm mass production feasibility.
There's still work to be done but the project seems to be nearing completion.
Noctua announced breakthroughs that include a logic board that can fit into the fan's motor-hub and needn't stay in an [ugly] plastic box hanging outside the fan; and a new standards-compliant 25 mm-thick 120 mm fan design, which will pass off as any 120 mm fan; and can be easily installed on existing systems. The company also improved the ANC system magnets that run along the bore of the frame, and is working on improving the impeller design, and the software driving the ANC system.