Sonitus Technologies Wins Multi-Million Dollar DOD Award for 'Molar Mic' Personal Communication System

U.S. Air Force is first to leverage audio interface system that enables clear communication in the harshest conditions; performing underwater, in free-fall, and when using full-face life support masks

Sonitus Technologies announced today that it has been awarded Phase II of its contract with the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) which is structured to provide the U.S. Air Force with a novel new personal communication system that Air Force personnel have nicknamed the ‘Molar Mic.’ The innovative two-way, personal communication system, ATAC™, fits a miniaturized traditional headset into a device that clips to a user’s back teeth.

The DOD, via its Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), has contracted Sonitus for a multi-million dollar, multi-year agreement, to complete development of the Molar Mic for purposes of transition to Fielding and Deployment of the system upon successful conclusion of the first segment of the contract which is funded by the U.S Air Force. Subsequently, other qualified branches of the U.S. defense community may leverage the technology as part of the DOD’s program to enhance communications capabilities and operational safety of its personnel. Sonitus was introduced to the DOD by In-Q-Tel, the not-for-profit strategic investor that identifies and partners with startup companies developing innovative technologies that protect and preserve U.S. security.

“Sonitus Technologies is honored to bring this game-changing technology to our country’s elite military, making them safer and more effective by enabling them to communicate clearly - even in the most extreme situations,” said Peter Hadrovic, CEO of Sonitus Technologies. “The voice interface sustains communications in dangerous and challenging environments. The Molar Mic is the first in our family of solutions that conventional approaches are unable to address.”

Pararescuemen (commonly known as PJs) from the Air National Guard 131st Rescue Squadron based at Moffett Field in Mountain View, CA, participated in early field testing of the Sonitus prototypes, including rescue operations during Hurricane Harvey last summer in Houston.

“The ability to communicate by radio is crucial for our mission,” said a PJ and DIU Warrior in Residence. “It 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.”

In one case during Hurricane Harvey, a PJ was involved in airlifting an injured civilian into a helicopter hovering directly overhead and was attempting communication with the helicopter flight engineer and pilot using the Sonitus system. The crew was amazed that they could clearly hear the PJ in these conditions.

Parachuting from high-altitude aircraft, working under a hovering helicopter, swimming in open water, and similar conditions, interfere with traditional communication devices precisely when they are needed most. What is needed is an entirely new approach.

Sonitus Technologies uses a patented audio interface and near-field magnetic induction (NFMI) technology to achieve its performance. The recent award followed DOD-funded field-testing of prototypes by military personnel from all of the major service branches with extensive field experimentation. Testing included multiple scenarios, with and without personal protective equipment, all with extreme noise and without loss of communication.

The Sonitus solution creates a unique wireless audio interface by embedding both a tiny microphone for talking and a speaker-transducer for hearing in a compact custom-fit mouth-piece that snaps comfortably around a user’s back teeth. This allows the user to both talk and hear without external devices attached to the head. The placement on the teeth uses the body itself to block external noise when speaking and leverages the user’s teeth and jawbone to create a new auditory path for hearing. The result is an unobstructed head and face, clear communication, higher comfort, enhanced situational awareness and the ability to add or remove personal protective equipment without breaking communication.

Security personnel, first responders, and industrial workers such as those in the energy sector are evaluating the Sonitus solution for their market applications.

Source: Sonitus Technologies
Date: Sep 11, 2018