[AI] cell phone for hearing impaired

Rajesh Asudani rajeshasudani at rbi.org.in
Thu Feb 21 01:27:13 EST 2008

In a bid to develop mobile phones for people with hearing difficulty, Japanese telecom operator NTT DoCoMo have launched their ultra-slim Bluetooth handset
called "Sound Leaf Plus" during the  recently-concluded Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

The mobile receiver-microphone combo works using the "bone-conduction" principle. When pressed against the bone just below the ear, it sends sound vibrations
to the auditory nerves through the cranial bones.
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 Weighing only 45gm, "Sound Leaf Plus" connects through the Bluetooth link or a hard wire to the cellular phone service. It is said that this is the first
attempt when bone-conduction technology has been used in combination with a telephone coil.

Contemporarily, bone-conduction has been used mostly in specialized, military devices in the form of throat microphones or diver communication sets to provide
hand-free operation for pilots and underwater operators. However, this technology has been in the news even before for consumer products like Aliph's JAWBONE
Bluetooth headset and Pantech's A140PTA clamshell phone.

Meanwhile, NTT DoCoMo's new Bluetooth handset has been developed by NEC/Tokin, and includes a high-frequency switch that improves sound articulation. In
addition to those with age-related hearing problems, the device is also useful for those with normal hearing when they're in noisy environments, said a
NTT DoCoMo spokesperson.

"Sound Leaf" will be available to DoCoMo subscribers in Japan for a price of $116 or 13,000 Yen.

For the rest, here's hoping this useful device reaches the Indian consumer in the ne

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