By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
San Diego – Kyocera plans U.S. availability early next year of a smartphone that uses tissue-conduction technology instead of a traditional speaker to dramatically increase the clarity and intelligibility of incoming calls in noisy environments.
The technology, incorporated in the Urbano Progresso smartphone launched a few months ago in Japan, is targeted to senior citizens with hearing loss and to businesses, including construction companies, whose employees work in noisy environments, said spokesman John Chier.
The technology effectively turns the whole front face of a phone into a speaker. The phone uses a piezo-electric ceramic transducer that vibrates the front panel to create soundwaves as a traditional speaker does, but the technology simultaneously transmits vibrations through hard and soft human tissue directly to the eardrum, Chier explained.
Because the whole display vibrates, users can press the phone against their ear to block out ambient noise while conducting a conversation, Chier said. Construction workers wearing noise-muffling ear cups can hold the phone against one of the ear cups to listen to a conversion, he noted
Kyocera sells phones through Sprint, Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile, Cricket, MetroPCS and smaller carriers.
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