Monthly Archives: November 2015

BAE Systems adapts bone conduction technology to aid soldiers on the battlefield

Bone conducting Technology has been with us for many years, taking sound from your inner-ear to produce the best transmittable communications. As this Article shows BAE have been clever to adapt this technology to Military Helmets. This technology works perfectly in loud environments so it is the best suited technology for the military. 

BAE Systems has developed an innovative communication device to aid armed forces personnel on the battlefield.

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The prototype system is designed to improve soldier safety and drive mission success by harnessing the body’s natural ability to transmit sound through bone conduction, transferring messages directly from the soldier’s helmet to the inner ear. It is being developed as part of Company-funded research which aims to reduce the burden on the dismounted soldier through wearable technology.

Soldiers need to be able to receive audio communications to maximise their awareness and understanding of the challenging environments they are working in, whilst also protecting themselves from extremely loud noises such as gunfire.

To address these conflicting requirements, BAE Systems engineers have adapted existing bone conduction technology often used in commercial headphones and hearing aids for the military domain.

The resulting solution significantly improves the performance of the device and minimising the size and weight of the transducer to the size of a five pence coin. Leveraging off-the-shelf technology to engineer the prototype has allowed the team to significantly reduce development time and costs.

Mohammed Akhmad, Principal Scientist at BAE Systems, said: “We recognise that on the battlefield, auditory situational awareness is essential for armed forces personnel. With this system, the soldiers can safeguard their hearing with ear protectors whilst still clearly receiving military voice communications, to enable them to perform their roles efficiently and safely.

“Through collaborating directly with our customer, we are able to understand their operational challenges and translate them into technical solutions. The key to this concept is that we have been able to utilise off-the-shelf technology and apply our specialist engineering expertise to greatly reduce the time it takes to develop a new prototype. In doing so, we have developed an audio system that offers enhanced capabilities for the military domain.”

In the future this technology will be incorporated into future integrated helmets. A concept demonstrator for BAE Systems’ bone conduction technology will be on display at DSEI (Defence and Security Equipment International), in London this year.

What Exactly is a Covert Earpiece?

A covert earpiece is designed to go unnoticed in a person’s ear. Typically, the iconic image of the bodyguard or FBI agent always springs to the forefront of the imagination when the subject of covert earpieces is brought up, but they are often used by live on-air television personalities to take cues and direction from the production team as well. Politicians will also use them when making live speeches to get immediate feedback and change the course of the dialogue if needed.

Not all covert earpieces are designed for two-way communication, but during sensitive surveillance operations or security details a microphone is often used for real-time communication. The presence of a low-profile microphone becomes a necessity in these types of operations to keep the security forces hands-free at all times. They also allow the user to blend into a crowd without using a conspicuous walkie-talkie or other form of hand-held device.

Covert earpieces are designed not to have any visible wiring and to fit neatly inside the ear without being observable to any passers by who may be in the general vicinity. There are even devices made to fit on an ordinary pair of glasses, which amplify sound inside of the wearer’s ear.

An Earpieceonline acoustic tube earpiece has the features of a thin tube that helps to transmit sound. The tube fits snugly behind the ear, while the bud goes inside the ear. The acoustic tube ear piece is commonly paired with a microphone when used in security or covert operations, but there are some civilians who prefer to use it with their personal devices, such as mobile phones and personal audio devices. The ability to efficiently eliminate background noise in loud areas makes them a top choice for use in television and media as well.

The sturdy tubing of the acoustic tube is vital in protecting the delicate wiring involved in the listening device. The ability to protect the most crucial aspects of the earpiece makes the acoustic tube preferable over other devices with exposed wiring and even wireless devices, as the acoustic tube earpieces are known to outlast others. Anyone who will be performing rigorous activity while wearing a covert earpiece will choose the most durable option.

Many earpieces will be connected wirelessly to a handheld device called a main board, usually kept in the pocket or hidden somewhere on the person. Typically, there will be a beeper button on the main board, which sends a beep noise to connected devices when pressed. It can be used to send covert messages and sometimes has other uses, like connecting to Bluetooth with a long press of the button. Covert messages can also be sent by tapping the microphone, usually discreetly placed on the shoulder or wrist.

A neck loop will is also attached to the main board. This loop will transmit sounds wirelessly from the main board to the earpiece. The loop is worn loosely around the neck under the clothing, so it is not noticed in the collar area by anyone in the close proximity.

So, whether you’re a bodyguard on the job or a jogger listening to music, covert earpieces will fit the bill for any covert listening situation.

World’s first truly wireless headphones unveiled

The world’s first “true wireless” in-ear headphones have been unveiled at the IFA technology show in Berlin, by Japanese consumer electronics manufacturer Onkyo.

Most in-ear headphones that are advertised as “wireless” actually have a cable connecting the two earpieces. They are known as wireless because they do not require a cable to connect to a media player or a smartphone.

The W800BT headphones, developed in partnership with audio group Gibson Innovations, consist of two earbuds that work independently from each other and deliver a balanced sound across a frequency range of 20Hz-20kHz. They connect to each other and to a smartphone wirelessly, using Bluetooth.

Onkyo claims that the headphones offer a clear and accurate audio experience with passive noise isolation. The right earpiece also includes a microphone to enable hands-free calls and can be used with any Bluetooth-enabled device.

World’s first truly wireless headphones unveiled – Telegraph

They come with a charging case for storing the headphones with its own internal battery, providing up to 15 hours of talk time and 12 hours of music reproduction.

“The W800BT allows you to immerse yourself in audio in a free and natural way,” said Sebastiaan Gruijters, Onkyo Business Leaders at Gibson Innovations. “We’re proud to showcase this genuine breakthrough innovation here at the IFA in Berlin.”

The W800BT in-ear headphones are priced at €299.99 (about £220) and will be available in Europe from November 2015.

Onkyo also unveiled a pair of high-resolution on-ear headphones at IFA, in partnership with Gibson, as well as a new range of portable high-resolution audio speakers.

Gibson has been an investor in Onkyo since January 2012, when it acquired a majority share of Onkyo USA.

“We strive to achieve an optimum balance between the ideal acoustic design and a deep understanding of how we, as humans, interact with technology,” said Matthew Dore, sound and acoustics engineering lead for Onkyo products at Gibson Innovations.

President Obama Signs Up For Supercomputer

US President Barack Obama has signed an executive order that calls for the creation of the world’s fastest computer by 2025.

The order calls for the new supercomputer to be 20 times quicker than the current world’s fastest, which is in China. The Chinese supercomputer, known as Tianhe-2 is capable of performing quadrillions of calculations per second, and is almost twice as fast as its closest rival, which was developed in America.

In addition to being able to make one quintillion (that is a billion billion, in case you wondered) calculations per second, this new supercomputer would be capable of running intricately complex simulations as an aid to scientific research.

Some practical applications could include improved methods of cancer diagnosis (based on X-Ray analysis), increased accuracy of weather forecasts and the eventual elimination of the costly wind tunnel testing used by NASA (due to the computer’s ability to accurately design more streamlined aircraft).

Experts have also suggested that the computer could be used to tailor personal medications to the physiologies of individual medical patients, something that would greatly improve the effectiveness of any prescription drug. It has even been put forward that this new computer could be used to create very accurate climate models, with a view towards analysing current trends and anticipating the resultant changes in climate.

Critics of the decision have suggested that, in addition to being very ambitious, the electricity required by this project will cost at least £60Million a year.

The outgoing President, who has served two terms in office since first being elected in 2009, has always been a strong supporter of technological innovation within the US. In his 2006 book The Audacity of Hope, the then-Senator from Illinois discussed a trip to Google’s headquarters in Silicon Valley, California, in which his fascination with computers and information technology was made abundantly clear.

“Larry (Page – Co-Founder of Google) asked the young Indian American engineer who was working nearby to explain what we were looking at. ‘These lights represent all the searches that are going on right now,’ the engineer said. ‘Each color is a different language. If you move the toggle this way’ – he caused the screen to alter – ‘you can see the traffic patterns of the entire Internet system’. The image was mesmerizing, more organic than mechanical, as if I were glimpsing the early stages of some accelerating evolutionary process, in which all the boundaries between men – nationality, race, religion, wealth – were rendered invisible and irrelevant, so that the physicist in Cambridge, the bond trader in Tokyo, the student in a remote Indian village and the manager of a Mexico City department store were drawn into a single, constant, thrumming conversation, time and space giving way to a world spun entirely of light”

 But don’t get too excited, because even if all goes according to plan, this incredible feat of technology will still take at least a decade to design and build.

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