A new miniature microphone allows people to communicate even when wearing life-support masks.
There are a number of situations in which spoken communication is vital, yet difficult to achieve. This includes when using full-face life support masks. A new solution uses a two-way, personal communication system that clips to a user’s back teeth. Dubbed the ATAC, or ‘Molar Mic’, the system is being developed by Sonitus Technologies. The company has recently been awarded a contract with the US Department of Defence to develop the system for the US Air Force.
The ATAC has already been tested by para-rescue personnel from the Air National Guard 131st Rescue Squadron. The squad used the mic during rescue operations following Hurricane Harvey in Houston. According to one Guard who used the device, “The ability to communicate by radio…enables us to execute in extreme conditions and save lives. But despite having amazing technology, communication still commonly breaks down because of the extreme environments where we operate.”
The microphone uses an audio interface and near-field magnetic induction. Embedded in a compact, custom-fit mouth-piece placed around a user’s back teeth is a tiny microphone and a speaker-transducer (for hearing). This allows the user to both talk and hear without external devices attached to the head. Locating the device on the teeth allows the body itself to block external noise and the user’s teeth and jawbone help to create an auditory path for hearing. The device joins other miniaturised tech recently highlighted by Springwise such as a miniature gyroscope and a sensor that fits on a tooth.