This ‘Smart’ Earplug Can Be Your Language Translator In Real Time

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We have all watched star trek or ‘Allo ‘Allo! (bare with us) and wondered how we can understand all the different languages. Well it is all down to the tardis! It translates the persons speech from their mouth to your ear so you can understand in perfect English. But now you don’t need to keep a Tardis about with you, as they have designed a earpiece that can translate different languages, just pop it into your ear and talk to some foreigners. You can find the original article here.

How many times did you give up on befriending a foreign national due to language problem? Even if you have befriended the person who doesn’t speak your language, it becomes difficult to converse with him or her. You always feel  the need to have a translator, whether it is a face-to-face conversation or a telephonic interaction.

Technology has the solution for any or every kind of problem in this world. It is advancing day-by-day so language barrier can no longer make you behave like an alien. Communicating with a foreign national in real time is no longer a pain as a company has come up with the Pilot earphones that let two people who speak different languages communicate smoothly with each other.

So there won’t be any awkward pause the next time you speak with your friend who doesn’t know your language. Also, there is no need to consult either a dictionary or search online the next time you want to talk to your French or Spanish friend.

In fact, Wavery Labs, a New York-based company that launched the wireless earphones, will add more languages as soon as possible. Currently the earphone translates only three languages – English, French and Spanish. The company will soon add Italian to its list.

You must be wondering about its functions. It works when you connect the earphones to two different people, speaking different languages and translates what they say in the ear.

Waverly Labs calls it the first ‘smart earpiece’. But it hasn’t disclosed much detail about how it works. According to the company, the earphone uses “translation technology” embedded in an app. The Pilot will cost $129 (around Rs. 8,646) and will be available for pre-order on their website.

DJs Shouldn’t Have to Live With Constant Ringing in Their Ears

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When you think about DJs you don’t worry about their hearing, but this is a real issue in the music world, they seem to be slow in picking up this issue, probably because the industry can be full of bedroom DJs, that don’t consider hearing protection. As the article below says, it interferes with the mixing. This article was originally published on THUMP Canada. 

I’m waiting to get my hearing tested and I’m scared. Most of my work as a music journalist, along with my social life, has revolved around loud music for more than two decades. While I often wear cheap foam earplugs, I haven’t been as consistent as I should have been, and I’m particularly worried about is the damage I’ve done while DJing.

I was never a famous touring DJ, but spent many years playing long shifts on a weekly basis at Toronto bars, sprinkled with occasional club and warehouse party gigs on larger sound systems. I’ve never worn any hearing protection in the booth, as I found earplugs interfered too much with mixing. Gradually I’ve noticed that I’ve been turning up the monitors over the course of a long night, and the ringing in my ears was taking longer and longer to fade away after each gig. A few years ago, I started to realize I was having trouble keeping up with conversations in situations where there was a lot of background noise.

Then one day that familiar ringing never stopped.

Even though hearing loss caused by loud music is a well-known reality, most working artists view it as an issue they’ll deal with when they’re retired, not aware of the fact that it can often impact artists at the height of their careers.

“I would go home after a gig and my ears would be ringing really badly, and then one day I noticed that they never stopped ringing anymore,” says Toronto house DJ and producer Sydney Blu, who’s been playing regularly since 2000. “Not long after that, I noticed that whenever I’m in a nightclub and someone talks to me in my right ear, I have to stop them and put my left ear to their mouth.”

She eventually got herself fitted for custom musician earplugs, but found she could never get used to DJing while wearing them. Instead, Blu just tries to keep her monitors as quiet as possible, and turns them down completely in-between mixes. “Most of the older DJs that I know all have tinnitus. I wish I had thought about it earlier, and realized how bad it could get.”

There is no way to reverse tinnitus currently, and the treatment options for hearing loss are still in their infancy. For busy DJs who are constantly touring and playing festivals around the world, many don’t notice the ringing in their ears getting worse until it’s too late.

“I think it’s rife in the DJ field,” says NYC house music veteran Roger Sanchez. “A lot of people have tinnitus and they haven’t even identified it. They’re just so accustomed to their ears ringing, and they think it’s just because of their gig the night before. But if you’re playing three or four times a week, your exposure is almost constant. Then when they step back, they realize they have tinnitus.”

Sanchez has been performing for 36 years, and started to experience permanent ringing towards the end of the 90s. Like Blu, he got himself fitted for custom earplugs, and feels they’ve saved him from further damage. However, he admits there was a learning curve when it came to mixing while wearing hearing protection.

“In the beginning, I felt like I couldn’t hear things clearly. It was like someone had put their hands over my ears. It took me a while to acclimate, but what I started noticing was that I could turn my monitors up, but it didn’t sound piercing any more. I also had them put bass bins in a lot of booths, which helped compensate.”

Sanchez says that it’s become much more common in recent years for big name DJs to wear custom earplugs while performing. He finally got tested properly in 2010, and found there was a significant dip in upper range of his hearing around the 800hz range, but was relieved that the loss wasn’t worse. The persistent ringing in his ears is still there though.

“Right now I hear the ringing, but I’ve just become accustomed to it. I don’t notice it when I’m walking on the street, or if I’m not paying attention to it, but the second I quiet everything down, the ringing starts. It’s not too loud, thank god. I think using the filters prevented it from getting to that level. I know some people who have it very loud.”

Custom musician earplugs can cost more than $200, but they’re one of the few options for DJs who need to be able to accurately hear the effect of their EQ tweaks and filtering. The cheap disposable earplugs you can buy at the drugstore will protect your ears the same amount, but change the sound so much that few performers use them.

“A cheap foam earplug might bring the sound down by 25db at one frequency, and 10db at another,” explains Adam Rhodes, the US director of hearing protection company ACS Custom. “They muffle the sound, because it’s not a true response. You can’t hear anything, it takes away the enjoyment of the experience, so you just end up taking them out. When you’ve got the right filter though, you’re not sacrificing the quality at all: you’re just turning it down.”

ACS works with many of the biggest names in electronic music, from Tiesto to Zedd to Deadmau5. Rhodes says that there’s much more awareness of the issue now, although too often artists come to them after they’ve already done permanent damage. “Pretty much every week we hear someone say they wish they’d heard about this ten years ago. We hear that often,” he says. “I think it’s all about education. We’re at a festival every weekend in the summers, trying to make it as accessible to them as possible.”

Many touring musicians have switched to in-ear monitors in recent years, which block out external sounds, while amplifying what they need to hear. In the electronic music world however, they are far less common, as they require DJs to completely rethink their approach to mixing.

“In-ear monitors haven’t always worked for DJs,” admits Rhodes. “They like to wear the cans over their ears, so they can take them off, and do a mix with one ear covered. There are some DJs who use them though, like Deadmau5. We have one model now that have ambient microphones built in, so that they can still hear the mix. That’s kind of the next level, but it’s still hard to persuade DJs to use them. They’re so used to wearing headphones and it’s almost part of their outfit when they’re performing.”

One artist who has transitioned to in-ear monitors is Dutch DJ and producer Laidback Luke. He started wearing custom earplugs in the early 2000s, after becoming concerned about tinnitus and a growing lack of sensitivity to loud volume levels. Around 2008, he decided to give in-ear monitors a try and has used them ever since.

“I just wasn’t getting the definition I was looking for in DJ monitors. We tried the in-ear monitoring, and I was so happy with the clarity. Even in big halls with lots of reverb, my monitoring would always stay the same,” he says. “It was a revelation to me. I could keep the volume low, and still hear every little detail in the song. I couldn’t hear the crowd anymore, but that just made me work harder to get applause.” It wasn’t until three years ago that he finally got up the courage to get his hearing tested.

Thankfully, it turns out that his early adoption of ear protection had a huge impact, and the results were completely normal. Even the constant ringing and beeping that panicked him early in his career has subsided.

My own ringing isn’t nearly as bad as it was a year ago, but it sure seems loud in the complete silence of the soundproof booth in the downtown Toronto clinic where my hearing is being assessed. I struggle to hear the tones, but feel optimistic that I’m able to notice some of the very high-pitched signals they’re feeding me. However, I’m also noticing that there are long pauses during where I probably should be hearing something.

“Do you work with heavy machinery?” the doctor asks me as he looks at my results, which makes my heart skip a beat. When I explain that I’m around loud music constantly, he tells me that explains what the chart is telling him, and why the highest frequency range of my hearing is still decent.

“It’s not actually too bad. Your left ear has a dip at 1K, but it’s still within the normal range. Your right ear has a much larger dip though, at 4K. You should really get yourself a pair of custom musician earplugs.”

I leave his office feeling relief that my hearing isn’t worse, but embarrassed that it’s taken me this long to take it seriously. Thankfully, it’s not too late for me to stop things from getting worse.

Benjamin Boles is on Twitter.

5 Reasons The Secret Service Hate To Wear a Radio Earpiece

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When you think of the US Secret Service agents, the image that comes to mind is that of a person in dark sunglasses, black suit, and a coiled tube thing goes into his ear. The coiled tube thing is what the agents use to monitor and communicate what’s going around them, where dangers lurk and where they’re are needed. Unfortunately, the coiled tube thing tends to be very noticeable such that the bad guys will easily identify the secret service agents. Over the past couple of years, various earpiece companies have closely worked with the US secret service, and have supplied the agents with quality covert tactical earpieces. The covert tactical earpieces are much better than the traditional coiled tube earpieces because of a number of reasons. Some of the reasons include;

1. Discreetness/Covertness

Security professionals typically chose earpieces based on just how discrete/covert they want to be. The level of covertness or discreetness is usually determined by the type of earpiece, earpiece style, and also the color. As aforementioned, if you want to identify a secret service agent you can simply look for the guy with a coiled tube type of earpiece . Luckily for secret service agents, various earpiece companies now offer earpieces which allow the secret service agents to efficiently communicate in a more covert and discreet manner without anybody noticing. They allow for discreet communication between the agent and his or her team.

In-ear earpieces are typically more discreet because they’re worn inside of the the ear as compared to the over-the-ear earpieces which are worn outside of the ear. It is also wiser to opt for colourless earpieces as opposed to the coloured earpieces for extra covertness. You can also opt for the wireless earpieces; the wireless earpieces are usually preferred over the wired earpieces since it is hard to tell that somebody is actually wearing the wireless earpiece as compared to the coiled tube, wired earpieces. The wireless earpieces normally receive the signals wireless. One needs to have a separate microphone worn at the end of the sleeve, or even on a lapel. In order to send a message to the other(s), the wearer has to speak into that microphone, and the other(s) will receive the message via their wireless earpieces.

2. Comfort

You should obviously choose an earpiece which is comfortable to wear; Some of the crucial questions to ask prior to choosing an earpiece can include; how easy that earpiece is to not only wear, but also to remove, how easy is it to control and use the earpiece, and also whether the earpiece will be able to remain intact for as long as needed without falling off. One of the main reasons why most people dislike the coiled tube earpieces, is the lack of comfort. Most agents say that the coiled tube earpieces cause a lot of ear fatigue. Most of the secret service agents are usually connected to the radio 12 to 16 hours per day, and some agents will have the earpieces draped over their ears and hanging out, with the volume of their radio turned way up so they do not have to have to plug the coiled tube earpiece in their ears all day long. . Fortunately, the covert/discreet earpieces are very comfortable to wear. They use speakers which are smaller than the average ear canal; this means that there’s very little contact, thus are ideal for secret service agents who want to avoid the feeling of ear fatigue.

3. Sound quality

Secret service agents are dealt with protecting the President and as such, it is crucial to get everything right, including the message being sent to their earpiece. In case of a sensitive situation, it is even more crucial to get the message right or correctly. Listening to sounds which are being pushed up a coiled tube may leave a margin for error. The tactical earpieces have the speakers placed in the canal of the ear which means that the sound is basically created there, (approximately 7millimeters from the eardrum), and is worn in both of the ears. This allows the wearer to clearly listen to what’s being transmitted through the earpiece, meaning they will be more efficient in their work.

4. Volume

This is one of the main reasons why secret service agents dislike their coiled tube earpieces. Many of the secret service agents say that they usually feel like they are gradually incurring hearing loss especially in the ear which they plug the radio earpiece. Well, with the covert earpieces, the ear isn’t plugged so that the sound pressure can get released. And since it’s worn in both of the ears, and the speakers are located in the ear, the radio may be turned down, and you will have much better sound clarity. This allows agents to work more efficiently, and in addition, they will have no fear of incurring hearing loss.

5. Localization

The brain is typically wired to locate where sounds/noises originate from, or rather the brain is wired to localize. When you hear a sound from the right side, you will know it since it enters your right ear a little louder and a little quicker, and your brain registers that the sound came from the right direction. This means that a secret service agent, or anybody wearing the coiled tube type of earpiece in their right ear, might hear a similar sound a little louder in their left ear since their right ear is plugged. In sensitive situations, mistaking the location of the sound can be disastrous since it could leave time for bad guys to get away, attack, or complete their objective. The tactical earpieces are designed such that they help the secret service agents to accurately locate the actual place the sound is originating from.


The covert earpieces address all negative issues which anybody who wears or uses the coiled tube type of earpiece experiences. They’re comfortable, discreet, they use top notch, high end, high quality speakers which offer the best clarity, they help in reducing the risk of future hearing loss since one can reduce/adjust the radio volume, and they also allow wearers to accurately and quickly localize the direction a sound is coming from.

Motorola Solutions announces new mobile radio, enhancements to its P25 platform

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Motorola Solutions are busy re-modelling their business at the moment and are under pressure from many other radio manufacturers, that are stealing away their market share. They are moving towards creating equipment that can use the LTE, essentially competing with the mobile phone market. This will be seen by many as a move away from the essence of two way radios, but it is an inevitable progression. This new radio will use current motorola earpieces, chargers and batteries. We brought you this article from the urgentcomms websites

Motorola Solutions today will unveil a new P25 mobile radio that operates on its ASTRO 25 systems and will highlight key features enabled by the 7.17 release of ASTRO 25 software today at APCO 2016.

One of the key features of the APX 8500 all-band mobile radio is its ability to leverage LTE connectivity from a VML750 modem installed in the public-safety vehicle, if the ASTRO 25 data capability is interrupted by continuous voice transmissions during a busy incident, according to Anatoly Delm, Motorola Solutions’ director of global infrastructure marketing.

“Let’s say that you have a major incident, everybody’s talking all the time and the ASTRO network is being used all the time, it can [offload] some of the data communications, like GPS, to broadband—public-safety LTE or commercial LTE, depending on what the modem is operating on,” Delm said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications.

“So, you’ve got this combination of the best of both worlds, where your voice communications are continuing over the ASTRO network, and your data communications—if the ASTRO network is too busy, because of a major incident—can be carried on by an LTE network from the same car.”

Meanwhile, the 7.17 release of ASTRO 25 software will provide system users and operators with features that are designed to improve the reliability and usability of the P25 network, Delm said.

One enhancement is a more efficient way to execute over-the-air software updates, Delm said.

“Ordinarily, what happens is that the software update has to travel to one radio at a time. If you’ve got a large enough fleet, it could take days or possibly weeks [to complete the software update for all radios],” he said. “In this case, the software is being continuously broadcast, kind of like on repeat. In the meantime, all of the radios continue to function as normal—you can talk on them, and none of the functions are disrupted.

“Once a radio has received all of the packets that it needs, it can then give the user the [a notification] that the update is ready and asks whether the user wants to install it. If they say ‘Yes,’ then the radio is updated. This means you can reduce your update time to maybe a few hours, depending on the size of your fleet. But you certainly don’t have to do it one at a time.”

Other new capabilities included in the latest ASTRO 25 software release include personnel accountability—often used for roll-call functionality on a fireground or other incident scene—over trunked systems, Delm said. Previously, this capability existed only in conventional mode.

Where Could You Get a Great Two Way Radio?

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If you’re planning a family outing where you’ll camp for several days, or if you’re headed for an amusement packed backpacking expedition with friends, you might want to know where to buy two-way radio communication systems. These gadgets are very small in size, and you can go with them wherever you want to as most of them weigh less than half a pound and you can hardly feel burdened by them as you hike.

Additionally, they come in very handy in regions where cell phones cannot dare venture. Some top quality walkie talkies can provide a huge array of features such as weather alerts as well as SOS signals. 2 way radio online has all kinds of two-way radios including the newest types that come with better-quality frequency options as well as radio ranges.

Types of two-way radios

Bearing in mind that there’s a myriad of two-way radio systems available in the market, arguably the most important question to ask yourself if you want to buy a walkie talkie is: what’s the best choice? However, this isn’t a very hard decision once you understand where and how you’ll use it. Firstly, you’ll need to pick either of the two main kinds of two-way radios, which are family or consumer walkie talkies and professional business walkie talkies .

Within both kinds, you would also want to decide whether a radio system with licensed or unlicensed band is most suitable for you. On the one hand, licensed radios come with powerful 5W frequency transmissions and a wider coverage range. However, you’ll have to be contented with a frequency fee. On the other hand, unlicensed band walkie talkies attract no fees, but they’re comparatively low in power plus a limited range that’s only suitable for casual users.

You would also want to decide between an analogue and a digital walkie talkie. Some businesses search for radio systems that can operate suitably in risky highly explosive environments. Radios with ATEX certification are highly recommended in such areas. You can find all these kinds of walkie talkies and more at 2wayradionline

VHF or UHF walkie talkies?

An important consideration when looking to buy walkie talkie is keeping in mind that Ultra High Frequency (UHF) radios will be your best purchase in most cases. Essentially, a UHF radio can never send or receive communication to a Very High Frequency (VHF) radio. As such, if you have some walkie talkies and you’re only looking to add some more units to be used with what you already have, go for the same band.

VHF radios can provide more coverage with less power, but they only function well when there’s little interference between the sender and the receiver. UHF walkie talkies function best with most users since they have shorter waves and can penetrate or get around areas of interference such as hilly areas, thickly wooded areas, in buildings as well as in urban outdoor settings. If you’ll use your radios strictly indoors or if it’s a combination of indoors and outdoors, then UHF is the best choice. You can choose from some of the best VHF and UHF two-way radios at 2 way radio online

Motorola Solutions Transforms Body-Worn Cameras for TETRA Users

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Back in December the UK government decided on who and what will drive the new generation of emergency service communications. The ESN (Emergency Services Network) was the result of months of tendering and negotiations. So they decided that EE would manage the network and Motorola would provide the hardware. This article is about the first wave of communication devices that Motorola are planning to use with the ESN.

New innovative solution combines body-worn video camera, radio speaker and microphone with cloud-based data storage and management to create a complete digital evidence management system

At Critical Communications World 2016 (May 31 to June 2 in Amsterdam), Motorola Solutions announces a new combination of body-worn video camera, radio speaker and microphone, along with new, cloud-based, digital evidence management software, which is able to collaborate with TETRA digital two-way radios. The new “Smart Interface” (Si) Si500 Video Speaker Microphone (VSM) is reducing the number of devices that weigh down public safety officers in the field today, while CommandCentral Vault digital evidence management software is providing unparalleled efficiency that saves time and resources.

Public safety agencies today face an increasing demand to capture, store, properly manage and share video evidence. While use of body-worn cameras has widespread and growing acceptance with public safety agencies and the citizens they protect, the massive amounts of data cameras create needs to be managed and stored, oftentimes incurring significant costs. With its new solution, Motorola Solutions tackles all of these challenges and offers an end-to-end solution that can be used with existing TETRA radio equipment. Public safety agencies are provided with a seamless experience from video capture in the field to back office storage and content management that helps them simplify workflows and reduce administrative overheads.

“In Europe Middle East and Africa (EMEA), TETRA digital radio technology has become a standard for mission-critical communications,” said Steven Young, vice president TETRA devices at Motorola Solutions. “This is why we have developed a body-worn video solution that collaborates with TETRA radios. The Si500 is transforming digital evidence management by integrating our best microphone into a body-worn camera and combining it with a content management system that´s unmatched in its ease-of-use.”

Sight and Sound Simplified

Both body-worn camera and remote radio speaker microphone, the compact Si500 VSM is a unique interface that extends the mission-critical performance of Motorola Solutions TETRA digital two-way radios. The lightweight compact design includes innovative features to meet the needs of first responders:

  • The Si500 VSM is equipped with a 210-degree range-of-motion camera lens that provides optimal field-of-view and flexible wearing positions. Users can wear the VSM with the display facing in or out.
  • The Si500 VSM features a new adaptive audio engine that automatically adjusts audio settings based on the user’s wearing position and environment. With five integrated microphones and a loud 0.5-watt rated speaker, it provides the high audio quality of TETRA radios.

    Integrated Wi-Fi dramatically improves the speed of uploading multi-media. It also makes over-the-air feature updates via Radio Management quickly and seamlessly over Wi-Fi.

  • The Si500 VSM offers a full-screen tempered-glass display with an intuitive user interface that presents only vital information within three panels. Users have the ability to control radio channels and talkgroups, view recorded video and photos, tag videos and listen to audio recordings.

Digital Evidence Management Revolutionized

The digital evidence management solution includes the cloud-based CommandCentral Vault software application to securely store, manage and share digital evidence. With an expansive base storage capacity and integration with computer aided dispatch and records management systems, CommandCentral Vault is designed to make digital evidence management easy and affordable. The digital evidence management software also:

  • Ensures end-to-end security that reduces any challenge to chain of custody for agencies

    Pairs with the Si500 VSM and can also operate stand alone and accept evidence gathered from any device

  • Offers a highly streamlined ability to search, review, annotate and perform other evidence management, reducing administrative time and expense
  • Provides an industry-leading auto-redaction feature to help public safety agencies remove identities of individuals in videos seamlessly. Instead of having to painstakingly invest the time to review and possibly edit each video frame, technicians will be able to automatically mark objects such as faces, addresses or license plates and let the new technology blur them out automatically throughout the video, saving hours of administrative time.
  • Creates greater engagement and transparency with communities. The system enables agencies to improve evidence sharing and more easily respond to content requests.


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Some people who pre-ordered the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset are going to have to wait just a little bit longer.

The first Oculus headsets were set to arrive in the mail on March 28, but some people who pre-ordered the device are still waiting for their headsets. The company said in an email to some customers it had experienced an “unexpected component shortage, and unfortunately, that issue has impacted the original shipping estimates for some early customers.”

“First set of Rifts are going out slower than we originally estimated, so we’re giving free shipping for all pre-orders, including international,” Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe tweeted on Saturday. Customers have since been tweeting at Iribe asking for answers after not receiving their headsets.

Customers who ordered anytime from the beginning of January until the end of the day, Pacific Time, on April 1 are eligible for a shipping refund, Iribe said. Further updates on shipping progress are expected by April 12. Despite the email to customers, Oculus noted that it is “shipping rifts everyday.”

Oculus founder Palmer Luckey responded to frustrated customers in a Reddit thread, telling them: “Don’t shunt blame to other people, this is my call.”

“I am not going to wax poetic about this, since I have done so in the past, but bottom-line: I won’t give in-depth updates on any situation without knowing it is solid, true, and finalized. Until I can do so, the best I can do is remind people that I will get them information as quickly as I can,” a person writing from a verified account attributed to Luckey said.

Luckey traveled to Anchorage, Alaska, last month to hand deliver the first consumer headset to Ross Martin, an indie developer who has the distinction of being the first customer to pre-order Oculus Rift in January.

There has been plenty of buzz around Oculus and the experiences developers can create, ranging from games to virtual vacations and real estate tours; however, there’s nothing flashy about the Oculus launch this week. The high price tag of $599 — plus the requisite high-performance PC needed to operate the headset — puts Oculus in a price range that makes it still inaccessible to the masses.

The consumer headset ships with a wireless Xbox One controller and adapter to enhance the gaming experience, along with two games: EVE: Valkyrie and Lucky’s Tale. Pre-orders are currently backed up until July, according to the Oculus website.

Oculus is also working on Oculus Touch, which are wireless controllers that wrap around a player’s hands, allowing intuitive actions in VR feel as though users are working with their real hands — even allowing them to pick up objects in their virtual world.

Martin, who was lucky enough to have his headset delivered, gave ABC News his early review last month.

“Everyone wants to be able to fly or visit the moon, and there’s never been anything quite like this before,” he said.

This years new technology is virtual reality (VR) headsets, stories of VR headsets have been circulating for a few years, and as we understand it 2016 was penciled in for the year of Virtual Reality. So when facebook owner Mark Zuckerberg bought the oculus rift company in 2014 we were expecting this to be the first headset out and when they started taking orders in January this only confirmed what we expected, they have been pipped to the post by Samsung and the gear, then on top of that their orders are running late, but the upside is that they are giving everyone free shipping The Original Source of this article can be found here

Who In Fact Created The Headset

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Have you ever stopped to think where headsets really came from? Well, they first headset was used in the 20th century; however, the technology has significantly improved over the decades. Shockingly it did not occur to anyone that headsets could be used to listening music on devices. Read more about the invention of radio headset in this article.

Everyone Uses Headsets

Headsets are an important accessory and it is very clear that they have indeed managed to save an argument over the years. Headsets enable you to listen to audio/music without having to get in the way of anyone else. In this time and age, we use all types of headsets from tiny earplugs with a wireless Bluetooth technology for listening to music in the streets, to big leather-padded cans to listen to music at home. Gaming headsets are increasingly becoming popular as many of them today come outfitted with a microphone, hence allowing the users to speak with other relatives, gamers and friends.

Headsets can give the user a great sound quality, there isn’t any sort of interruption between the ear and the sound, external sound is blocked out and there is absolutely nowhere for it to dissipate, more so if you invest in a pair of high quality headsets which are plentifully available nowadays. As a matter of fact, if you take a walk back to the early 20th century right before amplifiers had been invented; sensitive headsets were the only means that was could be used to listen to music/audio.

What Year Was The First Radio Headset Invented?

Accurately speaking, the very first headset dates back to the telephone early adoption and by 1920 radio headsets were being commercially manufactured. These were mainly used by professionals and not by the public. There exists an argument over who was first person behind the idea to dwindle down loudspeakers and move on to attach them on our heads but the earliest living example dates back to around 1911. This was far from the headsets we use presently with no padding for comfort and a very low sound quality. They were used by telephone exchanges and radio operators.

Who Invented The Radio Headset?

Headsets were the only way to listen to audio files before the development of amplifiers. Headsets were invented in 1910 by Nathaniel Baldwin, an American born to a Canadian father and an American mother. Baldwin developed the first, truly successful set in 1910 by hand in his kitchen and later sold them to US Navy.

Baldwin’s headsets made use of moving iron drivers that came with either balanced or single ended armatures. The requirement for high-sensitivity meant damping could not be used, and hence they had a crude sound quality. These early models did not have padding, and oftentimes ended up producing excessive clamping force on the heads of persons wearing them.

In 1944, John C. Koss a jazz musician and an audiophile from Milwaukee, US, designed the first stereo headset. Previously, headsets were used only by radio and telephone operators, as well as persons in related industries. The 3.5-mm phone connector and radio headset, which is commonly used in portable applications today, has been in use since the Sony EFM117J radio that was released in 1965.

The Sepura Group to Provide Communications for the Olympic Games

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It’s a brave move by the olympic organisers, the London Olympic communications was run by Riedel and they did an excellent job, they have experience in this field, but the Brazilians are obviously set on using Teltronic and we all hope that they do just as good as a job.

Teltronic, part of the Sepura Group, has been chosen by the public security secretary of Río de Janeiro State in Brazil to supply communications for the Summer Olympics and Paralympics, informally known as Rio 2016.

The €10m contract will cover four venues (Barra da Tijuca, Copacabana, Deodoro and Maracanã), two airports (Rio de Janeiro/Galeão – Antônio Carlos Jobim International and Santos Dumont) and several key transport routes in the Olympic area.

The agreement with Teltronic will see an extension to the traffic capabilities of the existing Teltronic network currently used by the Rio police, as well as the installation of further Nebula base stations to provide additional coverage for the state police and emergency services, and the Olympics organisation workforce.

The existing network was originally provided by Teltronic for the Pan American Games in 2007 and, after some upgrades, is now supporting over 100 dispatch operators and more than 18,000 radios. This new upgrade for the Olympics will feature two extra TETRA carriers for each site, to update the capacity of the existing network; base stations with up to 12 TETRA transceivers to support high traffic loads throughout the event; a CeCoCo Control Centre, to accommodate a further 50 dispatch operators; an additional 6,000 terminals featuring Teltronic’s Synchronous Data Manager application to pare down the GPS refresh time in AVL applications; and 24/7 maintenance and operational support during the Games.

“This win builds on our long-term relationship with the Brazilian authorities and public safety agencies,” said Paulo Ferrao, the Sepura Group’s sales director for Brazil.

“We have a strong background in events of this scale, having supported communications for the FIFA World Cup 2014 and the Pan-American Games, both huge events in the sporting calendar of Brazil and, indeed, the world. We are delighted that Rio de Janeiro’s public safety agencies have, once again, placed their trust in us.”

Superintendent of critical communications at the Security Secretariat of the State, Colonel Alexandre Corval, commented: “We are extremely happy to have chosen Teltronic.

“The company has been a trustworthy partner to our public safety agencies for over ten years. Once again, they have exceeded our expectations in terms of technical development, quality of the deployment and, above all, their dedication to customer service: throughout the project, they have paid close attention to our technical and operational requirements.

“We are confident that this extension to the existing Teltronic TETRA system will optimise our mission-critical communications, enhancing the security of both visitors and employees throughout Rio 2016.”


Faulty communications along U.S.-Mexico border are America’s blind spot

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We all know that mission critical communications are vital 24 hours a day and as this article shows that even a tiny lapse in communications can lead to chaos. Even the U.S government can’t keep their radio communications up-to-date on one of the most watched borders in the world, as we can see from the article below.

Put yourself in the shoes of a U.S. Border Patrol Agent. You are patrolling the U.S.-Mexico border, driving through desolate terrain, and in the distance, you spot movement. You head toward a deep ravine and step out of your vehicle when a shot rings out and you hear the zip of a bullet speeding past your head. With training and instinct, you dive for cover and draw your weapon, reaching for your handheld radio.

And the radio doesn’t work.

There’s no one to call, because you are in one of the many areas of the southern U.S. border that has no radio coverage. Out there in the ravine is a drug cartel “rip crew,” heavily armed and firing on your position, bullets punching into your vehicle until smoke is rising from the hood. If they come closer, you are outnumbered. If they flee, your vehicle is disabled, and they will disappear into the vast emptiness along the southern border, where they will likely fire on one of your fellow agents, should they encounter them.

That is the state of communications along many of the areas on the U.S.-Mexico border. When the U.S. Border Patrol needs it the most, they cannot communicate with anyone. With rising threats and political propositions, U.S. border security has again risen to the top of the public consciousness. There are calls for more border patrol officers and stronger fencing, for aerial and ground based vehicles and other technology. But the lifeblood of the border security apparatus is communication, and in some areas, communication is not possible.

“If there is one thing in securing America’s borders that hasn’t changed since September 11, 2001, it’s the inability to resolve the communications lapses and gaps along the border,” said Ron Colburn, the former National Deputy Chief of the U.S. Border Patrol. “Here we are almost 15 years into this, and we still have not addressed this problem.”

One reason 343 New York City firefighters died when the World Trade Center buildings collapsed was that their radios could not communicate with the emergency responders outside the buildings, who were warning the structures were about to come down. The recommendations of the 9/11 Commission cited the need to create interoperable tools that allow first responders and law enforcement to communicate in the most unforgiving of environments.

And there are few environments less forgiving than the nearly 2000-miles of the U.S.-Mexico border.

Recognizing this, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) launched a massive project to improve the communications capacity of officers along the U.S. border. It failed. In March last year, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported that $945 million in taxpayer funding used to build radio towers and upgrade radio equipment has yielded little benefit and in some cases does not work as well as what Border Patrol agents were using before. The effort cost too much and was taking too long.

Colburn said that the state of communications today means U.S. Border Patrol cannot call for support in some areas. They cannot feed information from the field into the intelligence food chain, and they cannot receive images from manned or unmanned vehicles to know whether they are walking into an ambush or encountering a group of friendly forces.

Likewise, Border Patrol agents cannot communicate easily with other law enforcement agencies (like a local Sheriff’s office), nor can those law enforcement agencies run on-site biometric checks (e.g., fingerprints) of individuals they suspect may have recently crossed into the United States illegally.

“I see it in the eyes and hear it in the voices of the men and women of the Border Patrol,” said Colburn. “They understand the mission and they want to accomplish it, but they feel like they have been abandoned.”

Answering the Unanswered Question

Most Americans own a smartphone, which is a powerful piece of technology. Experts say it’s hard to understand how, in this age of technological innovation and advancement, the United States is not arming its frontline officers with the very basic capacity to talk to one another.

Part of the challenge is that we have not brought new solutions to this long-standing problem.

To advance the effort, the Border Commerce and Security Council (of which I am Chairman and CEO) helped bring multiple stakeholders to the table in December last year in Cochise County, Arizona, to see if an innovative application of several integrated technologies could solve these communications challenges. It was a Proof of Concept test that included the U.S. Border Patrol, the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office and a group of businesses with tools that can address a range of communications and intelligence challenges. What was tested is called the Field Information Support Tool (FIST).

FIST started in 2006 as basic research at the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS). NPS Information Sciences Research Associate James Ehlert said in 2010 that the goal was to create “an easy-to-use, inexpensive hand-held solution to achieving communications interoperability and a common physical and human terrain operating picture for both on-the-ground field collectors and tactical decision makers.”

The research question was, how can we use modern technology to allow officers in the field to talk to one another and to their superiors while also collecting and then acting on real-time intelligence?

“The intelligence aspect is that the local and federal law enforcement officers need to look at things from a risk-management perspective,” said Brian Conroy, Business Strategy and Strategic Development Manager at NOVA Corporation, which works with Kestrel Technology Group, the company that has produced the FIST system. “They need to find the high-risk areas [along the border], and if you have a tool that collects data and runs algorithms against it, you can conduct risk assessment and trend analyses. Human intelligence contributes to a holistic common operating picture.”

This is what the FIST system achieves, and it’s what was seen during the proof of concept test. In general terms, FIST uses off-the-shelf communications tools (like an Android device) to gather intelligence from officers on the front lines. With these tools, officers feed information into a larger database compiled from a variety of sources (including other officers) that informs strategic and tactical decision making. This is then passed back to the people working along the border.

The need for this kind of tool is obvious, but it has only been recently that the right technologies and software were put together in a way that makes it possible.

Moving to the Market

Over the last year, there has been a push to transition FIST into the marketplace. Research transition is tough, as DHS has found in many cases over the years. Unlike other agencies and components, such as the military branches, the homeland security and law enforcement marketplace is heavily fragmented and with limited resources. It makes it difficult to take good, workable ideas from prototype to production. As big of a challenge as creating an innovative piece of technology is finding a way to produce it in line with operational and funding realities. A local Sheriff’s office, for example, does not have an endless amount of funding and time to bring in expensive technologies and then train deputies to use them. For that matter, neither does the U.S. Border Patrol.

What’s needed is a simpler, cheaper solution, and based on the proof of concept testing, FIST appears to be that solution.

“It’s ideal for smaller law enforcement agencies because it can unify operations and reporting and scale capability, creating a force multiplier,” said Ivan Cardenas, technical director of the Kestrel Technology Group, which is helping to bring FIST to market. “It is a sophisticated system, but it is easier to use than the complexity suggests.”

There are a few moving parts here. There are applications that allow off-the-shelf technologies to record and report intelligence, such as the location of a breach in the border fence or evidence of people moving through the rugged terrain. There are existing law enforcement and Border Patrol network capabilities (or cloud-based tools) that store that information. The secret sauce, however, is the complex digital architecture that allows real-time control and fusion of multiple information sources in a way that supports the mission. This is the one thing that has been missing from the border communications and intelligence efforts, and it’s why DHS has struggled to address the challenges to this point. The innovation is in the complexity, and FIST makes it simple.

Of course, that complex innovation is for naught if the agents in the field cannot transmit and receive intelligence. Enter SiRRAN Communications, another stakeholder at the proof of concept test in Arizona.

“We often forget that without network access, we’re blind,” said SiRRAN’s Director of Sales Mark Briggs. “Our technology brings that cell network to anywhere that it is needed.”

Briggs describes this technology as a portable, battery powered cell network—a network in a box. It creates a local, closed network that any agent within range can access to communicate and record intelligence. The unit provides local communication in areas where there is no coverage, and if there is no way to access the communications grid, it captures intelligence and transmits it to the larger repository as soon as it finds a signal.

The lesson here is not just that FIST is a workable system to satisfy the mission needs of America’s border security and law enforcement professionals. It’s also that the answer to the communications challenges along the border will not come in the form of $1 billion worth of cell towers built under DHS management. If it were, we would have solved this problem by now. The fact that we have not reveals that the ultimate solution is necessarily complex and multifaceted while also being easy to use and in-line with realistic operating budgets.

Perhaps the most important lesson, however, is that there are real tools that our Border Patrol and law enforcement officers could be using. Right now there are thousands of men and women on the border, and until we give them the tools they need to do their job, it will make border security and the safety of our frontline heroes difficult to sustain.