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New Product Announcement

A world first! New optical microphone to be launched next year. Applications envisaged in communications devices, etc.

18 October 1999 - KENWOOD Corporation (President: Kaku Sakaida; Head Office: Tokyo, Japan) and Phone-Or Ltd.
(President: Oded Turbahn; Head Office: Or-Yehuda, Israel) have jointly announced today the launching of the world's first optical microphone presenting a breakthrough in microphone technology.

1. Optical microphone

This newly developed optical microphone is based on an innovative patented and field-tested optical sensor technology focused on sensing the characteristics of reflected light. Light emitted by an LED is beamed via an optical fiber through the microphone head and onto a special reflective membrane. Sound waves hitting the membrane cause it to vibrate, thereby changing the characteristics of the light. The reflected light is transmitted via an optical fiber back onto a photo detector, which with the aid of simple electronic processing, is transformed into an audio signal representing clear, crisp, audible sound. Phone-Or microphones capture the clarity of received sound, while their highly directional characteristics screen out background noise.

The main difference from conventional microphones is its unique design, geometry and construction of the optical-head, such that minute changes in the distance of the membrane can be accurately detected by a small device that is tolerant to radiation, moisture and temperature. This has brought the theoretical microphone to a useable and desired miniature size and to a higher quality than that of existing microphones.

Key Advantages:

  • Simplicity and cost effectiveness
  • Superior Background Noise Suppression (BNS)
  • Higher audio fidelity
  • Small dimensions and light weight
  • Immunity and undetectability
  • Moisture and sweat resistant

By exploiting and combining these advantages it will be possible to bring to market microphones suited for integration into diverse applications ranging from hands-free microphones with background noise suppression systems for the automotive telematics market to cellular telephones, voice recognition to headsets and other close-talk applications.

2. KENWOOD's Relationship with Phone-Or

Recognizing the innovative nature and market potential of this optical microphone technology, KENWOOD Corporation started investing in Phone-Or Ltd in 1997. KENWOOD will be a member of Phone-Or's board of directors soon.

We have been evaluating the potential of this technology for use in voice-recognition microphones, and we have concluded that it will be an asset for our communications products. Also, the optical microphone may well become a key component in the mobile telephone and ITS (Intelligence Transport System) product ranges.

KENWOOD is thus continuing to work with Phone-Or on technical evaluation and applications development, with intentions of using these microphones in our car navigation systems and mobile phones, among other products.

Mr. Oded Turbahn, President and CEO of Phone-Or Ltd. commented "It might happen once in a lifetime that we are privileged to be a part of a revolutionary technology. A technology like the optical sensor, the heart of Phone-Or's new optical microphone product lines. This optical sensor technology has opened a large window of opportunities to us.

Among them is the optical microphone that we are developing in collaboration with KENWOOD Corporation of Japan for automotive communication systems. We are very proud that KENWOOD has selected Phone-Or's technology for this harsh environment application."

"Another demonstration of trust in Phone-Or's long term prospects and its technology, was provided by Jafco, a leading venture capital company in Japan, when they decided to invest in Phone-Or during the last and very successful private placement. This show of confidence from Jafco has strengthened our belief that the Japanese market is indeed a prime market for our technology and we expect to penetrate the Japanese market during the year 2000", added Mr. Turbahn.

For queries regarding the above, please contact:

KENWOOD Corp., PR Dept.
e-mail : pr.qa@pr. kenwood.co.jp
tel : +81-3-5457-7120
fax : +81-3-5457-7110
url : https://www.kenwood.co.jp/whats_new.html

Phone-Or Ltd., Mr. Jacob Peled, VP Marketing &Sales
e-mail : info@phone-or.com
tel : +972-3-634-4488
fax : +972-3-634-9292
url : https://www.phone-or.com

Updated 99/10/20 (C) 2001 KENWOOD Corporation