US Army Using ‘Smart Earplugs’ to Dampen High-Decibel Noise, Enhance ‘Soft Sounds’
The US Army has been testing new technology to both protect soldiers from hearing loss from gunfire and explosives while simultaneously increasing their sensitivity to ‘soft sounds’ (think whispers, enemies stepping on twigs, etc.) while in combat. The device is called TCAPS for Tactical Communication and Protective System and as NPR reports over 20,000 of them are already deployed.
Interestingly, this is very similar in design origin to the TPS-L2 Sony “Walkman” from 1979 (then the “Soundabout”) which had a “hotline” button allowing a user to listen to the world outside their headphones without taking them off – similarly the TCAPS have what appears to be an electret microphone on the exterior of the earplug body, thereby providing both protection and amplification when needed:
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, or even use Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for MakeCode, CircuitPython, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.