Military technology is something else, I tell you, and I am always waiting to see what new gadgets they manage to implement in the backpacks of their soldiers. And also their teeth. Yes, you read that right.
Let me explain.
The device, dubbed the ‘Molar Mic’ is the brainchild of Sonitus Technologies, who has recently announced signing a $10 million deal with the Department of Defense. The contract allows the company to continue the development of the Molar Mic for the Air Force.
The device is a mouthpiece that is equipped with a waterproof microphone, which will be custom-built to fit in the user’s mouth. They will also have a radio transmitter in a loop around their neck. The wearer can speak normally once the device has been tucked in and the transmitter will send the audio to a second radio unit which is worn somewhere else on the body, which, in turn, will send it off to the target recipient.
The device does not have any visible headset or an earpiece so the incoming sound will be transmitted through the wearer’s jaw bone and skull all the way to the auditory nerves.
The Mouthpiece utilizes bone conduction to allow the operator to hear incoming communications. Bone conduction is the transmission of sound to the inner-ear (called the cochlea) through the bones of the skull or teeth. The Mouthpiece translates sound into vibration on the teeth, which is translated back into sound by the inner-ear. Sound will appear to come from “inside the head” instead of from the outer-ear as one would be used to. Bone conduction hearing enables the operator to simultaneously hear through the outer-ear as they normally would.
– Sonitus Technologies
A few prototypes have already been tested in Afghanistan, though not during missions. The feedback was used to further develop the product and bring it closer to the state it’s in at the moment.
The DoD intends to speed up the deployment of the device with the new contract, as it can perform underwater, during free-falls and while using full-face life support masks, making it useful for a large number of mission types and different military branches as well.
The Air Force is so far, the first branch of the U.S military that will be using the device, but Sonitus hopes the tech will see more widespread use by first responders, security personnel or even industrial workers in the future.