Army helmets could soon feature bone conduction comms
BAE Systems is in theprocess of developing bone conduction technology for use by soldierson the battlefield. The helmet-based system will leverage the samebasic technology as that found in commercial bone amplifyingheadphones, and should have the effect of allowing soldiers to hearcomms over the loudest battlefield noises.
With bone conductiontechnology, sound waves are converted into vibrations that passthrough the user's cranial bones, bypassing the eardrum altogether andtransmitting directly to the cochlea – that's the sensory organ that isresponsible for translating sound into nerve impulses for the brainto interpret.
The military-gradesystem will build on commercially-developed technology, integrating with a combat helmet in such a way as to place the comms unit justabove the ear. BAE states that the prototype is no bigger than a fivepence coin.
"We recognize thaton the battlefield, auditory situational awareness is essential forarmed forces personnel" states principal scientist Mohammed Akhmad. "With this system, the soldiers cansafeguard their hearing with ear protectors whilst still clearlyreceiving military voice communications, to enable them to performtheir roles efficiently and safely."
A prototype ofthe system is set to be displayed at the Defence and SecurityEquipment International (DSEI) exhibition in London later this year.
Source: BAE Systems
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