Military communication has changed dramatically in the past century. From carrier pigeons and field telephones used in World War 1 to the walkie talkies used in World War 2 to the earpieces common today, our communications have gotten smaller and more powerful. The next step in this makes all of those obsolete, the Molar microphone.

The Molar microphone

In September the Department of Defense invested several million dollars in a new two-way communications device to be used by the Air Force. It will be developed by California-based Sonitus Technology. A mouthpiece will snap onto the back molars and is custom fitted to each user. It will have a wireless microphone, a rechargeable battery and a bone conduction speaker built into it. Oh, and it will be waterproof too. The mouthpiece will send and receive wireless signals through a receiver concealed somewhere on the body using Near Field Magnetic Induction, a short range wireless communications system that also uses far less power.

The Molar microphone will relay signals right to a person’s inner ear though the bone conduction speaker (think of a hearing aid). The sound should be unobstructed and clear for the user, a dramatic improvement over current communication technology that becomes garbled when parachuting, swimming or working underneath a helicopter. It even cuts out external sound. With better communications the soldier on the ground will have better awareness and a better ability to complete their mission.

Benefits for the Air Force

Since the device is hidden in the mouth it will allow the wearer to cover up the rest of their head and thus protect it better, whether it be in the jungle, the desert or underwater. The device is hands free which allows the user to be able to use both hands for what they need to do. It will improve the efficiency of pararescues as well as combat operations carried out by the Air Force.

Should this program be successful it will undoubtedly spread to other branches of the military and even into civilian use for emergency or security personnel. This very well may be the future of the cell phone. It has already been tested too by an Air National Guard Rescue Squadron and passed with flying colors.

Considering that most technology is developed for military use long before it is given a civilian application one can easily see how this could be a great leap forward in communications technology. Could the cellphone’s days be numbered, at least as a communications device?

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