Kyocera unveils its new audio-boosting technology

Before CTIA 2012, Kyocera announced its novel audio technology that's built to boost clarity.

Kyocera rep Brad Shewmake demonstrates how a Kyocera device equipped with hard-tissue conduction technology can be heard even through noise-canceling headphones. Lynn La/CNET

NEW ORLEANS--In addition to the many niche devices Kyocera has under its belt, like its handful of rugged phones for enterprise workers, the phone manufacturer announced tonight its hard-tissue conduction audio technology.

Considered a "revolution" in voice clarity by Kyocera representatives, the company plans to roll out new devices equipped with a ceramic transducer that can transmit sound through the cartilage in your ear, as well as other localized hard tissue.

"When you hold a device to your ear or head, the sound bypasses the eardrum and puts those vibrations into your inner ear," said John Chier, Kyocera's director of corporate communications.

Chier told CNET that this new sound technology will help overcome ambient noise contamination.

"Plug your ears, touch the phone to your head, and still hear loud and clear," he said.

The benefits of hard-tissue conduction, technology used in hearing-aid devices, include increased audio clarity, especially for those who are hard of hearing.

When I got the chance to try out the audio technology on an unmarked reference device Kyocera provided, I was pretty impressed by how well voices came through.

The phone didn't have an output speaker near the ear. There's no need -- sound seemed to simply project out of the phone and into my ear, which means one less opening for a phone designer to consider.

I couldn't demo music since the handset had none on it at the time, but I did listen to a TED talk and it sounded as clear as on other devices that do have an output speaker grille.

What stood out the most, however, was when I was told to put on a pair of noise-canceling headphones. I then brought the handset up to the headphones. Because the sound waves traveled through the plastic of the headphones, the noise was amplified and it sounded even louder and clearer in my ear than before.

Unfortunately, this technology won't be featured in U.S. devices anytime soon, as there is no time frame in place to bring it here. Kyocera will launch it in Japan, however, in the next few months.

Catch all the latest news from CTIA 2012.

About the author

Lynn La is CNET's associate editor for cell phone and smartphone news and reviews. Prior to coming to CNET, she wrote for the Sacramento Bee and was a staff editor at Macworld. In addition to covering technology, she has reported on health, science, and politics.

 

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