in Defence / Events

BAE Systems' tech supporting Land Rover BAR in Bermuda

Posted 7 June 2017 · Add Comment

As Land Rover BAR battle it out in the semi-finals of the 35th America's Cup in Bermuda, BAE Systems adapted cutting-edge bone conductor technology has been providing Sir Ben Ainslie and the boys with a little extra help.

With sailing speeds reaching up to 60mph communication between the six crew-mates on board the race boat, as well as the support boats, is crucial in a high pressure racing environment. Adapting BAE Systems' pioneering bone conduction technology – primarily used to aid armed forces personnel on the battlefield – for the 35th America’s Cup, gives Land Rover BAR a crucial advantage in their bid to bring the Cup back to Britain.

Image courtesy of BAE Systems

Land Rover BAR sailor Matt Cornwell said: “When we first tried the technology not only were we amazed by how well the bone conductors could play sound through the skull, but we could see there could be some real scope to use it on the race yacht.
“I’m pretty sure we are the only team out there using it; it’s not the sort of thing you can just pick up off the shelf. A lot of time and effort has gone into producing the bone conductors from some very smart people, so it’s not like another team could just copy the technology either.
“BAE Systems’ technical knowledge and expertise has helped us to greatly improve a key area in racing the America’s Cup Class yachts. Communication is a performance differentiator and ours is one of the best in sailing thanks to them.”
Bone conduction technology creates physical vibrations from an audio signal. Travelling through facial bones into the inner ear, these vibrations are translated into nerve impulse signals and sent to the brain, allowing the user to hear audible sound.

Through a specially designed helmet, Sir Ben Ainslie’s team will be able to keep both their ears free in order to hear external sounds, whilst providing the ability to communicate clearly with crewmates in the most treacherous of sailing conditions.
Mohammed Akhmad, Principal Scientist at BAE Systems, said: “We’re delighted that Land Rover BAR is using our cutting-edge bone conduction technology to gain a competitive edge during the America’s Cup.
“We have adapted our pioneering solution for soldiers out on the battlefield to ensure the crew can clearly receive instructions from their team-mates out on the water. With such a large amount of background noise and weather variables, clear communication is crucial for any successful sailing team. Our innovative bone conductor solution will enable the crew to perform their roles efficiently and safely.”
BAE Systems is a part of Land Rover BAR’s multidisciplinary research and development Technical Innovation Group, powered by PA Consulting, tasked with providing world-leading technology and engineering expertise to drive a competitive advantage at the America's Cup.

The America's Cup is the oldest competition in international sport, first raced around the Isle of Wight in 1851.

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