More than 80 years after its invention, the funnily-named walkie-talkie is still the standard of communication for police and armed forces. That could soon change with the widespread introduction of a cool device that fits right inside the mouth.
This week the U.S. Department of Defense signed a “multi-million dollar deal” with contractor Sonitus to finish development of its new proprietary device, called the Molar Mic. The gadget, which includes a waterproof microphone, a bone conduction speaker, and wireless rechargeable battery in a small housing, snaps onto the upper back molars to provide two-way communication.
The U.S. Department of Defense was sold on the several benefits it provides, including usability when wearing tactical masks, audibility in noisy environments, and small hardware components that allow users to remove gear without breaking communication. It’s an idea that sounds like science fiction, but will soon be seen across the battlefield.
When in use it’s eerily similar to the video game franchise Metal Gear‘s fictional Codec system that uses bone vibrations to allow characters to communicate and listen quietly without speaking audibly. Though the Molar Mic will require vocal speaking to transmit audio, it’s a huge step away from having to hold a big walkie-talkie to your face.
The Molar Mic will first see use with the U.S. Air Force before adoption by other branches in the near future.