BAE Systems is helping Land Rover BAR, a commercial sailing team conceived by four-time Olympic gold medalist Sir Ben Ainslie, with its efforts to win The America's Cup, a sailing event. The British defence company has provided its bone conduction communication systems to Ainslie's team to help better communicate at the time of sailing their multi-hull vessels, which can hits speeds of more than 50mph.
Unlike conventional radio headsets used in sailing which can sometimes get filled with water and make communications muffled due to the high speeds and rough sailing conditions, BAE's bone conduction systems, originally developed for soldiers, will help keep both the ears of sailors free and ensure both external sounds and radio communications can be heard.
These communication systems are placed on the sailor's helmets and do not require using an earpiece. It instead bypasses the ear drum by transmitting sound waves through bones in the head, which are eventually picked up by cochlea, the auditory portion of the inner ear, according to The Telegraph.
The move is part of BAE's programme to help the UK's sporting teams perform better using its technology. Clearer communication through these systems is expected to help improve efficiency and decision making of the team at the sailing event.
Matt Cornwell, a member the Land Rover BAR team, said: "On-board communication is a real performance differentiator. We have had to step up our game from the pre-2010 era when a headset was 'a nice to have' and you could get the job done with basic kit. Now we have to be much more sophisticated, which is why BAE' support and is important."
Mohammed Akhmad, principal scientist at BAE, added: "The system is able to deal with the large amount of background noise, which can affect the clarity of the speech being transmitted. It is also rugged enough to operate in the extreme conditions sailors are put through."