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Sanyo Unveils New Sound-Traveling Handset
Dec 23, 2003
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Talking on the phone even in crowded, noisy places may now be easier thanks to a new handset that sends vibrations through the human skull to relay sound.

The phone, manufactured by Sanyo Electric Co. (Tokyo, Japan) and called TS41 by the mobile subsidiary of Japanese telecommunications company KDDI Corp., is going on sale in Japan in December for about 10,000 yen (U.S. $93), Sanyo spokesman Kiyoshi Yamasaki said.

It works as a regular cell phone when the folding handset is opened, but users can also use it when it is closed by putting it next to their faces. The tiny vibrations from the phone travel through bones in the face to the ear -- even if the phone isn't placed next to the ear.

"The voice sounds clear even if you're wearing earplugs," Mr. Yamasaki said.

Japan's leading mobile carrier, NTT DoCoMo, also has an experimental model called Finger Whisper that is merely a wristband with a microphone and earphone in it. Users talk into the wristband while sticking a finger in their ears, sending it vibrations that the ear and the brain convert to sound. (Associated Press)

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