Digital technology is widely recognised for the huge improvements it enables in communication, commerce, industry, healthcare, entertainment and other key areas of our lives. What is sometimes forgotten is its enormous contribution to safety over many years, particularly in hazardous industries such as construction.
There are many companies operating in this sub-sector and the newest innovator to join them is Mobilus Labs. The brainchild of Jordan McRae, the idea behind Mobilus was inspired by a near-death experience in the sea off Mozambique. The company is a pioneering specialist in communication technology as a driver of safety and efficiency.
One of its most exciting inventions is the mobiWAN. Designed to address the challenge of communication in environments where ambient noise levels make it virtually impossible to hear, mobiWAN is a ground-breaking solution. Instead of having to rely on conventional microphones and hearing apparatus, mobiWAN uses bone-conduction technology to direct voice calls through the head of the wearer. Sound is converted into vibrations, which achieve a clarity that phones and radios can't match. Whether you're on a deafening construction site, standing next to a jet engine or in a howling storm, as McRae says: "You can still hear someone talking clear as day."
MobiWAN's ear-free design can be used in full compliance with Health and Safety regulations. Not only does it enable the wearer to hear incoming audio loud and clear, but the bone conduction technology also allows the mobiWAN to function as a microphone.
The appliance is a wearable device that fits easily to a standard hardhat, making it completely hands free. Its noise-cancelling function is world class and its battery capacity is more than 8 hours, with fast charging via USB-C. Its built-in Bluetooth functionality makes it compatible with smartphones, tablets and other Mobilus devices.
The mobiWAN underwent rigorous testing before it was brought to market and has proved its effectiveness time and again in difficult industrial environments. Its biggest and most authoritative endorsement came when it was included in Time magazine's list of 2021's best 100 inventions.
The UK based company, founded in 2017, successfully obtained a $2.7 million dollar funding round from a number of investors including Chevron Technology Ventures, Vinci BV, Ascension Ventures and members of the UK Stanford Angels. This money has been allocated to widening the deployment of the Mobilus Labs communications technology. The energy, construction, chemical and manufacturing sectors in Europe and the US are its primary targets.
Launched in 2019, the mobiWAN is the company's flagship product. It is now in its second generation, and along with mobiTALK, the company's voice comms software platform, it provides a comprehensive solution to the challenge of online/offline software-defined radio communications.
Barbara Burger, a Vice President at Chevron Technology Ventures put Mobilus Labs' innovation in context: "Clear voice communication is particularly valuable in hazardous areas. Our trial of the Mobilus device helped us assess its potential to enhance worker safety, particularly in high-noise industrial environments. We are excited for this latest investment from our Core Energy Fund, which focuses on technologies that have the potential to improve performance in our traditional oil and gas businesses."
She added: "Mobilus has a unique and versatile technology which enables front-line industry workers to have a 21st-century communication experience. Not only is the technology based on bone conduction tremendously effective, but it also enables voice-to-text and voice assistant features even when there is significant background noise."
The swift, clear, unequivocal exchange of instructions, warnings and observations is fundamental to a safe working environment. Mobilus Labs is now recognised as a world leader in this field.