Now a Bluetooth handset for hearing impaired -NTT DoCoMo Sound Leaf Plus
This 45 grams device, Known as the Sound Leaf Plus, was first unveiled last week at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
The Sound Leaf Plus handset works on a principle known as Bone Conduction through which it is able to send out sound vibrations to the auditory nerves through the cranial bones. Thus, it works when pressed against the bone, just below the ear.
Besides being useful to those with age-related hearing difficulties, the handset will also be useful to those with normal hearing when in a noisy environment.
Basically, the NTT DoCoMo Sound Leaf Plus device connects through Bluetooth or a hard wire to the cellular phone service.
The Sound Leaf Device was developed by NEC/Tokin and includes a high frequency switch that improves sound articulation, said NTT DoCoMo spokesperson Mr. Shinya Yokoto.
Until now, bone conduction was used mostly in specialized, military devices in the form of throat microphones or diver communication sets as a means to provide hands free operation for pilots and underwater operators.
But, with the launch of NTT DoCoMo’s Sound Leaf Plus device, this happens to be the first consumer product in the industry that combines bone-conduction technology with a telephone coil.
The Sound Leaf Plus device was made available to NTT DoCoMo’s customers in Japan some time ago. It appears that with the showcasing of this device at the WMC 2008, the telecom provider wishes to address a wider market in other countries as well.