What’s an Earpiece?

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Broadly speaking, an earpiece refers to anything that functions by either covering the ear, or hanging near the ear. In this broad category are the parts of an eyeglass frame that extend over the ear, and any material specifically designed to fit into the ear and block off the entry of sound or water. The most common meaning of an “earpiece” however is an electronic device that converts electronic signals into sound waves, and directs them into the ear. In this context, the earpiece can also be called an electronic-acoustic transducer.

Originally, the earpiece was the only way of listening to electronically-generated audio signals. Thereafter, amplifiers were developed, and the role of earpieces became more a matter of personal preference than necessity. Nowadays, earpieces are used for convenience — where privacy is desired, or where mobility is important. Depending on its design, an earpiece can also be variously known as headphones, ear buds, stereo phones or headsets.

what is an earpieceEarpieces can be organized broadly into two categories — wired earpieces and cordless or wireless earpieces. The wireless types use either radio waves or infrared signals to connect to the signal sources. Earpieces for CD players, computers or mobile phones are some examples. A signal transmission link is used, like Bluetooth® or Wi-Fi.

The wired earpiece has to be physically attached to a signal source. To facilitate this, jacks at the end of the cords are inserted into the signal source. Jack sizes have been standardized, and the most common size is the 3.5 millimeter (about 0.2 inches) that was brought into the market by the Sony Company in 1979. The much older, 1/4 inch (about 6.4 mm) jack is now used only in professional equipment. When wiring up the stereo jacks, the tip is always the left channel, the portion in between is the right channel, and the outer sleeve is the ground.

The use of ear buds has a profound impact on how one perceives sound. This is because an earpiece feeds the sound directly into the eardrums, without the normal acoustic contouring by the listener’s head and outer ear that normal loudspeakers give scope for. Lacking these spatial references, the brain then imagines the sound to be in a straight line within the head and between the ears. This strips the sound of its 3 dimensional effect, otherwise produced by the normal loudspeakers.

From their shapes and sizes, earpieces can be placed into four categories. The circum-aural types have large pads that surround the outer ear. They are most commonly used in recording studios. The supra-aural headphones fit just over the ear, without fully surrounding it. Ear buds are designed to fit inside outer ear’s canal. However, they don’t fully cover the canal, and exterior sounds can still be heard around them. In contrast, canal phones, the fourth category, fit snugly into the ear’s canal, and effectively block off the external sounds.

Nedaa and Hytera Provide World-Class TETRA Radios for Dubai Tour 2015

Nedaa, the sole and largest TETRA operator in Dubai proudly teamed up with Hytera Communications, a world’s leading Professional Mobile Radio communications solution provider, which offered reliable and smooth communications support to the grand cycling event Dubai Tour 2015, which kicked off on Feb. 4th and is to complete on Feb. 7th.

The inaugural Dubai Tour was held in 2014, and the race expanded and hosted 16 World Tour teams in 2015. From the very beginning, Nedaa was officially chosen as the communications solution provider by the organizing committee for its excellence in technical planning and service.

For the 2nd Dubai Tour, Nedaa integrated Z1p, Hytera’s latest handheld TETRA two-way radio, into its network, which offers full coverage of the 4 tracks measuring nearly 700km in total. Hytera Z1p was developed in complete correspondence with the open ETSI standard TETRA. Its military-standard ruggedness and public-safety level functionalities come with an ultra-slim full-keypad body as thin as 23mm. The site survey executed by Nedaa shows that its system and Hytera Z1p synergize very well in skyscraper-crowded downtown, open terrain and hills.

During the Tour, the radios were intensely used by the staff from the organizer and Dubai Sports Council to ensure smooth collaboration among different work groups. Nedaa’s network also offered cross-department communication to the police and other institutions. “Nedaa is very proud to be the official communications provider for such a powerful event. Hytera Z1p TETRA radios are well designed for mission critical communication during events like Dubai Tour in terms of both functionality and usability. It has great potential of serving our customers. We look to provide services according to the highest international standards and the best practices in the field of public safety and telecommunications security in order for Dubai to rank amongst the most prominent countries in the world in this field,” commented Mr. Mansoor Bu Osaiba, Deputy Chief Executive Director of Nedaa.

About Nedaa

Nedaa is a Dubai Government-Owned and Controlled Corporation (GOCC). Established in June of 2008, the company made significant waves as it became the first in the Middle East to implement the Terrestrial Trunked Radio Network (TETRA). To date, Nedaa’s services are tied up with Dubai Government’s Strategic Plan, which aims at setting plenary plans and potential scenarios for crises and catastrophes. The company’s list of clients include RTA, Dubai Police, Dubai Municipality, MAF Group, Dubai Investment Park, The Address Hotel, G4S, Dubai Health Authority and Dubai Aluminum, to name a few.

http://www.nedaa.ae

About Hytera

Hytera, a world’s leading Professional Mobile Radio (PMR) communications solution provider, promotes major open standard technologies, including TETRA, DMR and PDT, and endeavors to ensure smooth technology migration to LTE broadband for its customers. Founded in 1993 in Shenzhen, China, Hytera became a public company in 2011 at Shenzhen Stock Exchange.

http://www.hytera.com

Headphones As We Know Them Will Soon Become Obsolete

They’re a staple even on cutting-edge smartphones, televisions, and Hi-Fis, but the jack plug was invented back in the 19th century to route phone calls. Imagine hundreds of them being rearranged with swift dexterity by switchboard operators.

Has any technical standard ever lasted as long?

Despite the jack plug’s age, it will still come as a shock when it disappears into obsolescence. Especially to those people who have just bought an expensive pair of headphones.

The original design was a quarter inch in diameter, which is still used on electric guitars, but it shrank to 3.5mm for headphones. It is showing its age, though, and even the smaller sockets are now hindering the gradual de-thickening of mobile phones. Which is why they’ll soon be replaced.

There are basically two main ecosystems for mobile phones today: Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android. Both of them are well on their way to ditching the 3.5mm socket altogether.

At its developer conference last year, during a talk on designing accessories for the iPad and iPhone, Apple announced it was working on headphones that connect via the Lightning port. That odd, proprietary socket that replaced the original 30-pin iPod connector now provides audio as well as power.

Philips was first to develop a pair: the Fidelio M2L. So, just when you thought Apple couldn’t be any more of a walled garden, there now exist headphones that work only on its devices.

Perhaps it was a deliberate measure by Apple to not be the first to launch such a product through its recently acquired Beats brand, to avoid the same accusations of profiteering that cropped up when it dropped 30-pin connectors for Lightning. Certainly, much of Beats’ $3 billion price tag could be recouped if every iPhone owner bought a new set of Lightning-equipped headphones.

The latest version of Google’s Android operating system, known as Lollipop, also includes support for USB audio. This is effectively the same thing as Apple’s new feature but with a universal USB plug rather than proprietary connector.

headphonesFlickr/Garry Knight

What do these features mean for audio? Unlike a traditional headphone wire, which carries the analog signals produced by a chip inside the phone, the new headphones will take digital audio and convert it to an analog signal only when it reaches the speakers next to the ear.

In theory, if you buy decent headphones, this will provide better quality: not only will that DAC (digital to analog converter) most likely be better quality, but there will be less degradation along the wire thanks to digital error correction.

It could also allow phones to be made even thinner, as the round headphone socket is increasingly the bulkiest component, in terms of width, in svelte handsets. Whether or not we really need thinner phones when customers are complaining that their handsets bend in their pockets is another matter, but it certainly makes for easy marketing.

Another benefit is that noise-canceling headphones could draw power from the phone over the wire, as Philips has already taken advantage of, eliminating the need to charge yet more batteries. There’s also the ability to have a microphone on the same cable, and all sorts of buttons to control playback. You could even have apps running on the phone that tweak settings on the headphones, adjusting bass or treble.

So the advantages are clear and numerous, but there are also downsides: how do you charge your phone and listen to music at the same time when your charger and headphones use the same socket? Not a deal-breaker, but still an issue.

Most importantly, your current and potentially new and expensive headphones will become obsolete. You could use an adapter, but that’s far from ideal and will cost you on top of your phone.

Thankfully, this isn’t going to happen tomorrow. Although there’s nothing to stop you splashing out on digital headphones now if you want to adopt early.

The iPhone, for instance, alternates between a partial refresh and a total redesign with each new model. We had the 6 and 6 Plus in September and will most likely get the refreshed “6S” this year, so it’s easy to imagine the “iPhone 7″ losing its 3.5mm socket in September 2016.

Apple didn’t respond to a request for comment on this story, so we’ll have to speculate.

You’re probably more likely to retain a 3.5mm socket for longer if you use Android, as there’s a wide range of manufacturers on the platform, so you can choose the one that retains the plug longest.

The really interesting thing will be to see when manufacturers ditch the Lightning and USB ports entirely.

Wireless charging can already handle topping-up our batteries, and Bluetooth can deal with audio and peripherals. Losing the ports will also make devices sleeker and easier to waterproof.

So while it looks certain that the 3.5mm socket will become an anachronism within a couple of generations of phone, the USB and Lightning port may not be too far behind, and the headphones that you bought to replace the ones that became obsolete will also become obsolete. Such is the way of technology.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/headphones-as-we-know-them-will-soon-become-obsolete-2015-1#ixzz3Qb96ojii

Legalize it? Colo. considers one-ear, in-car headsets

Colorado could become more friendly for hands-free talking under a proposed tweak to state traffic law.

The bill would specifically legalize the use of one-ear headsets by drivers, if connected to a mobile phone.

Current Colorado law bans the use of “earphones” behind the wheel, which is defined as “any headset, radio, tape player, or other similar device which provides the listener with radio programs, music, or other recorded information through a device attached to the head and which covers all of or a portion of the ears.”

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While that definition does not specifically cover phone calls, it leaves enough ambiguity in law that a small group of House Democrats wants to clear it up.

HB 1207 would add an exception to the definition of “earphones” in state law, to exempt: “a headset that only covers all or a 10 portion of one ear and that is connected to a wireless, hand-held telephone.”

The house transportation committee unanimously passed the bill on Thursday morning.

Colorado law does not specifically address the issue of hands-free phone use versus calls made with a handset held to the driver’s head. Under Colorado law, adults are allowed to engage in phone calls behind the wheel, while minors are not.

Numerous scientific studies conclude that hands-free talking is not significantly safer for drivers than talking with the phone held to the ear.

More important than tying up a hand is the fact that engaging in a phone conversation ties up the brain, splitting a driver’s attention between the call and the road and using a significant chunk of the brains cognitive capacity when it would be better applied to the task of driving.

In 2013, Colorado police officers reported that 1,311 crashes were caused at least in part by distraction due to a cell phone, roughly the same number caused by distractions from passengers actually in the cars that crashed.

That statistic does not differentiate between the use of a phone for talking versus texting. Texting behind the wheel is illegal for drivers of all ages in Colorado.

Source - http://www.9news.com/story/tech/personal-tech/2015/02/11/one-ear-headsets-drivers/23234425/

Natural History Museum Replaces Dippy Dinosaur With Blue Whale Skeleton

Directors of the Natural History Museum in London have announced that ‘Dippy’ – the famous diplodocus skeleton that greets visitors in the museum’s iconic Hintze Hall – will be replaced by the skeleton of a blue whale by 2017.

The idea is to better convey a more modern feel to the museum, one that reflects the cutting-edge science being conducted by the institution.

“Everyone loves ‘Dippy’, but it’s just a copy,” NHM director Sir Michael Dixon told BBC News, “what makes this museum special is that we have real objects from the natural world – over 80 million of them – and they enable our scientists and thousands like them from around the world to do real research.”

At present, the 25m-long blue whale is hanging –in a flat position- in the ‘mammals’ gallery and is accompanied by a life size reconstruction of the animal.

The skeleton was acquired by the museum in 1891 and it originally cost curators £250. The massive animal was beached at Wexford in Southeast Ireland and its remains were immaculately processed and preserved. To date, it is one of the biggest – and best-preserved – whale skeletons in the world.

Over the coming two years, the entire skeleton will be taken down and each individual bone will be thoroughly cleaned and carefully catalogued before it is re-structured and placed in a dramatic new pose, ready to better symbolize the new science of the 21st century.

The massive remains will be placed in a graceful diving posture designed to impress visitors to the hall.

By virtue of being the largest animal to ever exist on our planet, the blue whale skeleton will likely present an even more impressive sight to behold than Dippy presently does. Its presence could also help to raise awareness for whale conservation and preservation of our natural heritage in general.

The conservation aspect of this move is an especially relevant point, as it was NHM scientists that first demonstrated that hunting of the blue whales needed to be stopped in the first place.

This move, whilst surprising, is not without precedent. In the past, the Hintze Hall has also featured a complete sperm whale skeleton as its main attraction, as well as carefully preserved African elephants – and other displays as well.

So where will Dippy be going once his replacement arrives? At present, there is talk about taking the iconic dinosaur on tour in order to bring the Natural History Museum to the people, by housing him in regional museums throughout the UK.

Before that happens though, he will likely still have pride of place in a dinosaur-themed exhibit elsewhere in the museum, so we’ll still be able to stop by and say “hi”..

Record Calls (Literally) On The Go With Bluewire

Today’s smartphones really live up to their name, as they are filled with almost every tool we can imagine. From cameras that are more potent than most compact ones to high-end processing and computing power, they are as good as the next personal computer – I know for a fact that my actual phone is way better than the first computer I had, more than a decade ago.

There is one feature that most, if not all, smartphones come with by default, that is actually not used by most people: call recording. While the feature is quite handy on a situation where the phone is being used the normal way, there are some situations where it is not so much, like when you are using an earpiece and are away from the phone, not being able to hit “record”.

In fact, this is exactly the gap that Bluewire wants to fill. Developed by Senss, it is a project looking for financing on Indiegogo, and is announced as the world’s smartest Bluetooth headset call recorder, which is probably right. Using a common Bluetooth connectivity, it has the ability to record both ends of a smartphone or VoIP conversation, being also able to store it securely on the device itself.

20150114210418-13

Bluewire is an earpiece itself but, if a user already has one and prefers to use it, that is not a problem, as Bluewire can record whatever call is passing through the phone. It has 16GB of memory, Qi wireless charging, built-in flashlight, accelerometer, two-way communication, and several other interesting features.

One of those features is NFC, Near Field Communication. If Bluewire is tapped to a smartphone after a phone call is made, that last call will be transferred and saved to the phone and sent to the user’s email inbox. Bluewire works as far as 33 meters from the smartphone.

Do you find Bluewire useful and plan to pledge for their Indiegogo campaign? Let us know in the comments.

Source - http://tech.co/record-calls-with-bluewire-2015-02

How Does An Ear Defender Work In A Noisy Environment?

Are you working in a very noisy environment? Do you find yourself under very loud working conditions? Then, you definitely need the best Ear Defender in order to keep your hearing system unaffected by the surrounding noise.

People can get short of hearing and even deafness if they work in noisy work conditions for long and even short terms. Thus, using a hearing protection aid is a must for them. If you are a professional music player, you need to fit electronic devices like Apple iPod or MP3 style players with your ears. The noises from these headphones can damage your ears and your hearing power can be reduced.

Thus, you need to use the noise reducing headphones for these purposes. These types of devices are also known as the ear defenders, How Do Ear Defenders Work? This can be a first question in your mind.

How the Ear Defenders Work?

The noise reducing or noise cancelling headphone ear defenders work in two major ways. The first one is that these are usually designed to perfectly fit over the years with a thickly padded outer layer.

This layer acts as a physical barrier and blocks the high noise frequencies very effectively of the surrounding environment. These types of headphones are a bit bulky but these are highly effective ear defenders. These headphones are also commonly used in the noisy construction industries and perform very well.

This device leaves the low frequency noises and these get away through the physical barrier portion of the noise reducing headphone. There is a very small microphone inside the headphone that pocks up the unwanted noise or sound.

The highly advanced electronic circuits inside the headphones turn the sound wave into an opposite sound wave and play it back along with the music you are currently listening. The 2 sound waves of the external noise function to eliminate one another.

Because of these two technologies the passive high frequency barrier and the active lower frequency noise cancelling technology and the noise reducing headphones are the ideal for using in noisy environments of any type like offices, train plane journeys, etc. These devices cut off all the unwanted background noises which may disturb you.

Even if you want to listen to music peacefully you can only listen to the music by cutting of the unwanted surrounding noises with the help of the noise cutting headphones. These devices also work effectively while you are talking with someone on your mobile phone and the call is disrupted by unwanted surrounding noises.

How to protect your years?

The sounds are all turned into electrical signals that finally reach your brains. The tiny hairs of your cochlea pick up the sound vibrations. These hairs can get damaged if the sound vibrations are too high. The inner ear damages cannot be reversed.

Noise in the factories is one of the biggest sources of severe hearing losses. Thus, the workers in the factories, who have to work for long hours face serious hearing problems. They must use the most technically advanced ear defender for protection during the working hours.

Nedaa and Hytera Provide World-Class TETRA Radios for Dubai Tour 2015

Nedaa, the sole and largest TETRA operator in Dubai proudly teamed up with Hytera Communications, a world’s leading Professional Mobile Radio communications solution provider, which offered reliable and smooth communications support to the grand cycling event Dubai Tour 2015, which kicked off on Feb. 4th and is to complete on Feb. 7th.

The inaugural Dubai Tour was held in 2014, and the race expanded and hosted 16 World Tour teams in 2015. From the very beginning, Nedaa was officially chosen as the communications solution provider by the organizing committee for its excellence in technical planning and service.

For the 2nd Dubai Tour, Nedaa integrated Z1p, Hytera’s latest handheld TETRA two-way radio, into its network, which offers full coverage of the 4 tracks measuring nearly 700km in total. Hytera Z1p was developed in complete correspondence with the open ETSI standard TETRA. Its military-standard ruggedness and public-safety level functionalities come with an ultra-slim full-keypad body as thin as 23mm. The site survey executed by Nedaa shows that its system and Hytera Z1p synergize very well in skyscraper-crowded downtown, open terrain and hills.

During the Tour, the radios were intensely used by the staff from the organizer and Dubai Sports Council to ensure smooth collaboration among different work groups. Nedaa’s network also offered cross-department communication to the police and other institutions. “Nedaa is very proud to be the official communications provider for such a powerful event. Hytera Z1p TETRA radios are well designed for mission critical communication during events like Dubai Tour in terms of both functionality and usability. It has great potential of serving our customers. We look to provide services according to the highest international standards and the best practices in the field of public safety and telecommunications security in order for Dubai to rank amongst the most prominent countries in the world in this field,” commented Mr. Mansoor Bu Osaiba, Deputy Chief Executive Director of Nedaa.

About Nedaa

Nedaa is a Dubai Government-Owned and Controlled Corporation (GOCC). Established in June of 2008, the company made significant waves as it became the first in the Middle East to implement the Terrestrial Trunked Radio Network (TETRA). To date, Nedaa’s services are tied up with Dubai Government’s Strategic Plan, which aims at setting plenary plans and potential scenarios for crises and catastrophes. The company’s list of clients include RTA, Dubai Police, Dubai Municipality, MAF Group, Dubai Investment Park, The Address Hotel, G4S, Dubai Health Authority and Dubai Aluminum, to name a few.

http://www.nedaa.ae

About Hytera

Hytera, a world’s leading Professional Mobile Radio (PMR) communications solution provider, promotes major open standard technologies, including TETRA, DMR and PDT, and endeavors to ensure smooth technology migration to LTE broadband for its customers. Founded in 1993 in Shenzhen, China, Hytera became a public company in 2011 at Shenzhen Stock Exchange.

http://www.hytera.com

Record Calls (Literally) On The Go With Bluewire

Today’s smartphones really live up to their name, as they are filled with almost every tool we can imagine. From cameras that are more potent than most compact ones to high-end processing and computing power, they are as good as the next personal computer – I know for a fact that my actual phone is way better than the first computer I had, more than a decade ago.

There is one feature that most, if not all, smartphones come with by default, that is actually not used by most people: call recording. While the feature is quite handy on a situation where the phone is being used the normal way, there are some situations where it is not so much, like when you are using an earpiece and are away from the phone, not being able to hit “record”.

In fact, this is exactly the gap that Bluewire wants to fill. Developed by Senss, it is a project looking for financing on Indiegogo, and is announced as the world’s smartest Bluetooth headset call recorder, which is probably right. Using a common Bluetooth connectivity, it has the ability to record both ends of a smartphone or VoIP conversation, being also able to store it securely on the device itself.

20150114210418-13

Bluewire is an earpiece itself but, if a user already has one and prefers to use it, that is not a problem, as Bluewire can record whatever call is passing through the phone. It has 16GB of memory, Qi wireless charging, built-in flashlight, accelerometer, two-way communication, and several other interesting features.

One of those features is NFC, Near Field Communication. If Bluewire is tapped to a smartphone after a phone call is made, that last call will be transferred and saved to the phone and sent to the user’s email inbox. Bluewire works as far as 33 meters from the smartphone.

Do you find Bluewire useful and plan to pledge for their Indiegogo campaign? Let us know in the comments.

Source - http://tech.co/record-calls-with-bluewire-2015-02

Martian Homes Could Be Built In Just 24 Hours

By the end of this century, it seems highly likely that people will be living on Mars. It sounds utterly mad, until you consider that there were only 66 years between the first powered and sustained Human flight and Neil Armstrong setting foot on the moon…

However, a major problem with this idea (aside from the fact that no Human being has ever actually set foot on the red planet) is the difficulty posed by building habitation in such a hostile and extremely remote environment.

At the moment, even landing an unmanned rover on Mars represents a major scientific achievement, which makes Elon Musk’s plans to build a city there seem especially far fetched and ambitious.

Besides, at current costs, taking one kilogram of material to the moon costs between £61,000 and £122,000. That’s a lot of money, even for bare essentials like building materials and water reserves.

Now, however, one man thinks he may have the answer…

Dr. Behrokh Khoshnevis of the University of Southern California’s Viterbi School of Engineering is working on a groundbreaking new method of building that, if applied to lunar or Martian colonisation, could bring us all that much closer to seeing cities on Mars or the moon in our lifetimes.

Essentially, Dr. Khoshnevis has come up with a way to ‘print’ buildings.

The construction technology, called Contour Crafting, fashions an entire building, layer by layer, according to a predetermined outline. Khoshnevis initially created the technology in order to provide cheap, quick and safe housing for emerging nations, or victims of natural disasters.

It is hoped that such building methods will also lower the demand for wood, thus having a beneficial effect on the rainforests and other areas that are being aggressively deforested for timber.

In addition, the concrete walls built by the Countour Crafter are three times stronger than a brick wall.

Writing for Nasa, Dr. Khoshnevis said, “Automated building technologies will revolutionize the way structures are built on Earth, in dense urban environments, in difficult-to-build and difficult-to-service sites, or in remote and hostile regions of the globe. The technologies under development by our group have the potential to simplify construction logistics, reduce the need for hard physical labor by assigning humans to a strictly supervisory role, eliminate issues relating to human safety and produce intricate, aesthetically refined designs and structures at significantly reduced construction cost”.

Theoretically, these buildings could be described via a computer model and built remotely, using the Martian landscape in lieu of bricks and mortar. The buildings could be ‘printed’ in around 24 hours and would be every bit as strong, (or stronger) than the building you are currently living in.