These Military Grade Smart Earplugs Could Soon Be Coming to the iPhone

When I visit the Cu Cui tunnels in Vietnam a few years ago, I got a chance to fire both an M16 and an AK-47. A buck a bullet. I handed over 20 bucks and spent a few seconds taking shots at a plywood cut-out of Bambi about 200 metres away.

I learned several things: (1) I’m a terrible shot; (2) both guns have terrible kicks; and (3) the damn things are loud. I remember thinking “How do soldiers deal with all that noise?”

Some 20,000 US soldiers have been issued special smart earplugs that in addition to cutting down on the gun noise (which can reach 150 dB) gives them “super hearing.” Introducing the Tactical Communication and Protective System, a bit of technology that will soon by used by anyone exposed to high-volume environments–and music fans.

TCAPS (get used to that acronym) look a lot like regular earbuds and can cut that 150 dB gunshot down to a more manageable 85 dB. When you plug it into your ear, the tip takes about 15 seconds to expand to a nice snug fit. In addition to cutting out noise, they heighten lower sounds that give the equivalent of “super hearing.”

This report explains more about how TCAPS work–and it claims that this is technology could soon be coming to the iPhone.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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