Hong Kong scientists made a device that absorbs sound and converts it into electricity. Not magical enough? The decorated membrane resonator (DMR) also happens to be really, really small. That matters because traditional sound-absorbing materials need a thickness ranging from 17 millimeters to 17 meters, depending on the sound’s frequency. These sorcerous discs from Asia still need to be of varied sizes to absorb different noises, but their diminutive nature means — if a noise-maddened man of New York can dream — that a strategically assembled constellation of them could effectively defend the borders of our peace and quiet.