Can someone go to the military without teeth?

US military tests new headsetTo phone above the molar tooth

Could we use a device on the molar to make phone calls in the future? In any case, there is already a technology for this: In the USA, the military and fire departments are testing the Molar Mic.

We have all experienced it before: There is a person walking in front of us or sitting across from us in the subway and apparently talking to himself - until we see the headset in our ears. In the USA a device was developed that is no longer visible: the Molar Mic. Our Deutschlandfunk-Nova reporter Johannes Döbbelt took a closer look at this new microphone.

Molar Mic is black, waterproof, about the width of two molars and can be attached to the teeth. It works in a similar way to a Bluetooth headset: users can hear, but also speak, via the Molar Mic.

Molar tooth micro transmits vibrations to the jaw

When the users speak, the small device on the molar picks up everything and forwards the information to a kind of small collar that must also be worn. The collar then forwards the information to the end device, for example a smartphone in your pocket.

Conversely, the sound that the user is supposed to hear is transmitted via the jaw. Hearings are made through what is known as bone conduction: the molar mic hangs on the jaw and vibrates; these vibrations are then automatically transferred to the skull bones and from there into the inner ear. The sound differs somewhat from classic headphones, says Johannes, but it is still easy to understand.

That sounds a little different than when you have headphones on. A little more highs are included in the sound, but still easy to understand.
Johannes Döbbelt, Deutschlandfunk Nova reporter

The technology has existed for a long time, for example there are also so-called bone conduction headphones. They work in a very similar way: They don't sit on the auricles like classic headphones, but just before they sit on the temples, which then conduct the vibrations further into the ear.

Noise is much quieter in the mouth

The US company Sonitus develops the Molar Mics for the military there. The goal: The soldiers should be able to communicate well in noisy environments, for example when using a helicopter or parachuting. Because it is much quieter in the mouth - so ambient noise is not as annoying as when the microphone is hanging in front of the mouth.

The molar microscope has already been tested: by the parachutists of the military and by a fire department from Foster City in California. Firefighters are also often exposed to noise during their operations, at the same time it is very important that they can communicate well with one another.

"The microphone masks out noises. This device is simply great, I haven't seen anything like it in the fire department in 27 years."
Mike Keefe, Chief of Fire in Foster City, California (video translation)
External content

This leads to external content from a provider such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. If you load this content, personal data will be transferred to this platform and possibly other third parties. You can find more information in our privacy policy.

The firefighters ran several chainsaws in the room for the test, as a video on the network shows. First they tried to call the control center over the radio - which was unsuccessful. Then they tried again at the same volume to communicate with the help of the molar microscope. It worked. Mike Keefe, the chief of the fire department in Foster City, seemed quite enthusiastic in the video of the developer company, says Johannes.

For the time being, the Molar Mic is only to be developed for the US military - Sonitus has received a lot of money from the US Department of Defense for this. But the fire-fighters' test shows that in the future it could make sense to use the technology in other areas, such as the fire brigade or mountain rescuers.