|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|18096||2013||8 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||5848 کلمه|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Futures, Volume 50, June 2013, Pages 86–93
This prototype explores the impact of radical disruptive innovation on hearing aid product capabilities. New markets created through the successful commercialization of military technology (‘spin-off’) goods have a long and profitable history. For instance, the Internet, GPS, lithium ion batteries and wireless communication tools. But although a product works in a military environment there are significant challenges in bringing it successfully to a commercial marketplace. Military-industrial capabilities are focused on having technological superiority over the enemy while cost and price considerations have a much more important role in commercial settings. Successful diversification of radical military innovations into the commercial sphere is difficult to predict, as this involves the development of new concepts with no current examples. Further they also often potentially completely change the marketplace of an industry (such as the case of the music and newspaper industries). This type of innovation frequently involves bringing in technology from one field into another (civil diversification). The prototype also explores the social and emotional consequences of the super-enhanced hearing aid innovation.
Hearing aids have advanced significantly over the past decade, primarily due to the maturing of digital technology . The next decade should see an even greater number of innovations to hearing aid technology, and this prototype attempts to explore social and economic dimensions from the development of a future ‘military super-enhanced hearing aid.’ Industry innovations occur in either incremental steps or in radical changes. The incremental innovations are easier to predict because they involve natural progressions of existing technology. However, here the focus is on radical innovation and its uncertain consequences . Hearing aids today have many automatic features: turning directionality and noise reduction on and off, classifying the environment that the user is in (e.g., car, noisy restaurant, quiet office) and making adjustments to the hearing aid settings. This automation will continue to evolve, but learning will also be added to hearing aids, making them “intelligent” . Current adaptive algorithms in hearing aids should not be classified as intelligent because they lack learning, which is the ability to improve behavior over time in response to sensor information . Techniques such as neural networks, fuzzy logic and genetic algorithms have been researched extensively in academia for use in systems that learn behavior and alter how they work in an optimal way, and we should expect their emergence into the hearing aid industry. One application for intelligent systems is to assist with individualized fittings. The proper fitting of the parameters of a hearing aid by the audiologist or hearing instrument specialist to the needs of the hearing aid wearer is critical to the success of the hearing aid. Durant et al. implemented a genetic algorithm that adjusted the parameters of a feedback canceller in a hearing aid such that the feedback canceller improved its performance over time . The genetic algorithm required the wearer to assess the sound quality of the hearing aid with different parameter settings, and the algorithm used the listener's responses to continually adjust and improve the feedback canceller and the resulting sound quality. One can imagine that this approach could be applied to many aspects of hearing aid use. Such a system would have to be designed to be easy to use and to ensure that the hearing aid continues to improve as it adapts rather than mistakenly get worse . To add credence to some of the concepts in this story it is noted that a preliminary design of implantable hearing-aid sensors is referred to in . While researchers at Imperial College, London have completed in-depth analysis into wearable sensor devices that are placed in the inner ear . Abner hoped safety would come in the wide plains of Kansas. Open miles of no one. At least the noises there were two-dimensional, unlike in the military hospital. No voices wheedled into his wrecked ears from above, or from below like when he was imprisoned on the eleventh floor of the Silverstein Institute of Audiology in Florida. A plant with tiny red flowers caught his eye. He’d been a sucker for wild plants even back when nerd accusations hurt him. He’d left high school and joined up for Iraq only to be roadside bombed. He squatted to examine the Scarlet Pimpernel, otherwise known as The Poor Man's Weatherglass. The open petals meant it was going to stay dry. Good to know; he couldn’t take the deafening noise of rain any more. He teased it with a fingernail while enjoying the earthy aroma from a nearby molehill. Resisting the temptation to pick the lonely blossom, he stood. Arrgh, here came a voice. There must be a nearby cabin. He stuck his index fingers in his ears to bring a temporary respite. He ran up the steps to the trailer home – a temporary sanctuary – but then had to unplug his right ear so he could open the jammed door. ‘Sit on him, Enrico. Now dislocate all his fingers.’ This time the heavy Kansas female voice raised a quarter octave from her demands an hour ago. Four miles away. The sound pierced his brain; not painfully but it intruded, swamping and numbing his own thought processes. ‘He's jus’ airin’ his lungs with that cussing. Go for that finger. Go on, why yer waiting?’ If they were much closer, their voices would hurt; vibrate his brain to migraine jelly. Abner struggled to open the jammed door and risked using both hands. ‘I will then.’ This time, masculine. ‘But not because you say so.’ Californian accent, in his fifties, chewing gum, so the inside of his mouth made wet noises. A shriek from a younger man but thankfully Abner had entered his trailer home and his fingers were back in place. He sank to the floor with his back to the door, fingers worming their way deeper into his ears. The thin door would make little difference, nor the bare aluminium walls. He could still hear muffled cries. He’d have to use his earplugs. He’d a new worry hearing that threat, and maybe a beating. He should call the authorities but he couldn’t, rather wouldn’t – he needed more days of freedom. *** After the first round of hearing tests he’d been summoned for another consultation. Different audiologist too. Susan McBain. Charming Scottish woman, who seemed as tall and as thin as a street lamp – with a red fringed lampshade. Her lips moved. Damn, he hadn’t switched his aids on. He’d have heard better if they weren’t acting as ear plugs when they were off. He’d arrived by taxi and had refused to listen to the driver's presidential-election-blathering. ‘I’m sorry. Repeat?’ ‘Abner Skelton? At twenty-six you are younger than normal to have to wear external hearing aids. We’d like to use an experimental cochlear implant…’ He shut out input – a feat he’d practised years before his ears lost efficiency. The implant concept needed to inveigle its way through to be considered. He’d never had surgery. He quivered at the idea of being lacerated even for his own good. The blast had rattled him in the humvee but his body had no visible damage. He put his right hand up to finger his aid. Felt the smooth plastic, which enabled an instant smile, then off again. Initially he wouldn’t wear his aids, especially in public – all those stares. But in time it’d become part of him. As normal as teeth fillings and spectacles. His fingers caressed and inadvertently upped the volume. ‘… Clinton has one. Are you with me, Mr Skelton?’ ‘Course. In each ear?’ ‘Who, you or the former president? Doesn’t matter. Yes to either. Your auditory tests need to be more rigorous than before. Come through to the lab next door. There's forms to sign too.’ ‘Aren’t there always?’ ‘You’ll need your hair off.’ Instinctively, he stroked his spiky hair. ‘I bet Bill didn’t.’ ‘Bill? Oh, his was simpler and cosmetically expensive. Why worry? That cut is a number two isn’t it?’ ‘Four.’ ‘It will be four again soon, but with the advantage of your ears not needing those outdated contraptions and with enhanced facilities. You just wait.’ Two hours later he’d lost all his ability to make decisions. Soundproofed cubicle it might have been, but his tinnitus kicked in louder than ever. They must have heard it too was his private joke but the internal whistling soured when they made him press the button when he heard a note. Focussing on a sound-to-be was Chinese torture. After half an hour he wasn’t sure whether he was pressing the button because he’d heard a ping, or his tinnitus called, or he was just hurrying them on. He should’ve told them he’d had listening fatigue but he pressed on, or not. ‘Come on,’ she said, with no awareness of his weariness. ‘Luckily, the computer does the rest.’ After inserting temporary beads into his ears, electrodes led from them to itchy pads on his shiny pate and to her box of tricks. ‘You’ll hear strange beeps and bops but ignore them. The program will sense the sound patterns and make equalization adjustments. Just relax.’ ‘So my ears and head link to this Moog Synthesizer thing?’ She threw him a pitying smile. Finally she said, ‘We’re done.’ *** Finally wasn’t the end. ‘I can’t go home?’ He stood, his left hand in his pocket rearranging his undercarriage after so long on a lab stool. ‘We have a slot tomorrow morning. You’ll have a private room,’ said Doctor McBain. She hadn’t looked up from tapping on her electronic tablet, synchronised with satisfied smiles as the graphs animated with dancing numbers. ‘But I haven’t brought—’ ‘Everything is provided,’ said a male nurse whose black beard must have infringed health regulations. ‘I’m expected—’ ‘You’re single, living alone here in Florida while your parents are a thousand miles away,’ said the doctor still playing with her virtual copy of his ears. The nurse, maybe he was an orderly, pushed gently but firmly at Abner's back, heading him towards the lab door. At last the doctor looked up at him. ‘You are the perfect patient for this procedure, Mr Skeleton.’ ‘Skelton.’ Abner put his hand on the doorjamb wondering if he was allowed to refuse this operation. *** He dreamt of being back in his apartment that night, and the next six nights. ‘Settling in’ problems they said. At least they avoided referring to the cacophony in his head as being teething problems. Doctor McBain glared down at him with her green eyes. Her with all that verticality and he could still make out those bottle-green orbs sending hostile emanations into him. She tap scratched on her pad and showed him her recrimination: You should have mentioned your tinnitus. So it was his fault. Maybe she was right. At first his head imploded with so much noise he thought his new aids had amplified his tinnitus and he had yet to hear external sounds. He had tried to filter out some of the frequencies. His former girlfriend had often accused him of selective hearing, and it was true. But now he suffered booming echoing inside his skull. Before the operation his tinnitus threw him a random selection of twittering birds, single tones and a drunk playing a harmonica. None particularly distracting or hateful. Until now. Then he saw a nurse five metres away drop a pen. The detonation burst in his head accompanied with a kaleidoscope of coloured stars. He told the doctor. She mouthed back: Stop shouting. Maybe she’d said it too, but his head was so full he couldn’t distinguish the lower frequency noises any more. The audio equivalent of a colourful painting turned brown by over-fussing. Don’t worry. We’ll sort it. It took a whole day with those electrodes buzzing instructions to the implants before the sounds settled to deafening. It was driving him crazy, not just the sounds reverberating behind his eyes and up and down his spine, but the time it was taking. Abner loved the outdoors. Born in a hurry in a hospital parking lot, he yearned for fresh air, earthy smells, insects and other unencumbered creatures. School was a nightmare, this worse because he wasn’t allowed home. If his acoustic problem wasn’t enough, another concern was the increasing number of senior military personnel ogling him and nodding to the doctor. They didn’t speak to him, or if they did their words were lost in the sound fog – turned down now by a joint effort of computer and earplugs. He couldn’t resist a smile at the irony of having cochlear implants that were so good he had to wear earplugs. So he ended up with external devices after all. This was a military hospital, and they paid his expenses for the experimental implants so he couldn’t object to being peered at like a caged orang-utan. Even so, his stomach knotted when he noticed white-helmeted guards at his door with fingers on the trigger guard of their M-16s. Were they afraid he’d run off with their precious implants? But that was going to happen anyway. He felt sick when he realized they were keeping people away from him. He’d no family near enough to visit, no friends – only acquaintances at Spiro's Bar. Was that a factor in choosing him for this implant? He’d enquire when McBain returned. You’ve cost the Services a helluva lot of dollars. She scrubbed it and wrote more. We need to test your ability to hear voices from a distance. ‘Is that what this is all about? Using me as some kind of listening device? I thought there were CIA bugs for that?’ Abner thought he’d spoken calmly but he could see her pained expression. Hell, her spectacles blurred as if they were about to crack. She staggered back and leant against the wall while she wrote again. Use your pad for the time being. We go to the test lab in 30 minutes. He knew he’d shouted not only from her reactions but from his increasingly sore throat. She’d left some botanical magazines; evidence she’d read his notes under interests. Must be worried he was slipping into insanity, or maybe the distraction would help his brain learn to adjust to the implant. *** Three days of testing, zapping the electrodes, and increasing hatred of all things military passed before Abner got away. Their mistake, letting him wear his everyday clothes. He faked a collapse when a single guard accompanied him from the lab. As the idiot ran for help, Abner helped himself to the staircase and out. He smiled at the simplicity of his escape route, but frowned again at his current dilemma. Hating crime, to the extent of handing back litter to louters, he now heard more than was good for him. How could he ignore obvious law breaking now he could hear it happening? Ignorance really was bliss. Pity they hadn’t programmed his hearing to hear only plants growing, or dragonflies, but those sounds wouldn’t benefit the damned military. He recalled that McBain had marched up to him accompanied by a visitor even taller than her. Also in white but in a knife-sharp army uniform encrusted with three stars. The visitor's voice boomed into Abner like a shockwave. His hearing shut down immediately, a neat trick built into the implant by the Silverstein wizards. Nevertheless, the pain streamed like a hot knife into his brain – the mother of all head bangers. A nurse rushed over with an iced flannel and placed it on Abner's forehead while another brought a glass of whiskey-looking medicine that tasted of paraffin. Ten minutes and he was ready; as normal as any other mutant. This time the general wrote: We are taking you to G Bay. A mission for you. He thought about where G could’ve been. Somewhere operational, where secrets might be overheard now that electronic bug detectors matched the cunning of the bugs. Somewhere too long to spell out quickly on a pad. His return note said: I don’t wanna go Guantanimo Bay. The soldier didn’t blink. You’ve no choice. U cost us 2 much. How much? U don’t want 2 know. Then why did he ask? Abner shut up in more ways than one. *** When Abner sprung the tab on the can of beer there would have been fizzing. He pulled out the foldaway table – an act he knew should squeak, and he relaxed on a hard bench in his parents’ trailer holiday home. The cupboards bulged with food, most within their eat-by-date. His dad must be on a hoarding binge again, worried that terrorists will invade, or maybe it was a forecast asteroid hit. He hoped they wouldn’t return for a few weeks. Abner snarled at the beer. Cheap, tasting of metal. He turned on the TV. Few channels reached out there so the picture looked like an Aztec carpet. He couldn’t hear it anyway. He wondered if McBain was on the ball and his hearing would settle down once his brain adjusted. He’d best do it in small stages. Already he’d found that it was human voices his aids now focussed on. Low frequency sounds like engines and road noise hardly bothered him. He wondered if he should ease out one of the earplugs – not easy because they were like gum; he would roll it in a ball and squeeze it into his ears. Perfect silence, except he usually heard his heart beating, Worrying when it skipped a beat. Between thumb and forefinger he eased his right plug out. Darn that clock! He shoved the plug back in and stood, knocking into the flimsy table. He knew the wretched clock went right through him earlier that morning but had forgotten to pull its batteries. He yanked open the rear compartment and ejected them. He sat back down and pointed a victorious finger at the dead chronometer. He’d not realized how many clock tocks were the same frequency range as human voices. He pulled out the earplug. All this experimenting, they should pay him. Good the arguing had stopped in the next valley. Thanks ma and pa for possessing the urge to be so isolated. Occasionally he heard a jackal, maybe an owl, crickets, but they didn’t hurt, filtered by the implant program. He clenched his fist – not daring to hammer the table. The fact that in the absence of human speech he could hear other sounds without deafening himself proved to him that they were clever enough to do a proper job on his ears but chose to amplify human voices so he could be a listening post for them. Maybe they wanted him to listen the Cubans to death. He stopped his silent rage for a moment and cocked his head towards the wall. Cables lay inside a plastic conduit leading to the kitchenette. A fridge was on, making its gurgling music, no other gadgets. He stood and placed his ear to the conduit. He could hear a sloughing sound like millions of tiny feet running through the wire. A smile grew as he reckoned he could hear electricity. He bet he’d be the first. He rushed over to unplug the fridge, and listened at the wall again. The tiny feet pattered but less so, confused at the lack of output, no flow possible. They slowed, seemingly reluctantly and stopped. Not liking his toxic beer to be warm too, he switched the cooler back on. He released a small laugh at the results of his experiment, especially as it meant he knew something that McBain didn’t. Not that he could think how it could help him, or the planet, to be able to hear electricity, unless terrorist electricity was different to good ole American juice. He reinserted his earplugs to keep out the external night noises so he could catch some sleep. Bright dawn rays turned dirty yellow by the old lace curtains brought unwelcome consciousness. He recalled hearing electricity, and unplugged his ears prior to plugging in the kettle. Just as the realization that voltages were different in other countries, he heard a woman's soft voice. ‘Abner, can you hear me?’ Shocked, he turned around the sparsely furnished trailer, looking to see if someone had sneaked in and spoken quietly. Of course no one had. Anyhow, his watch showed only 5:10 am. It was spoken as his mother would, especially when she’d been calling him for dinner and finally entered his room where he’d been stuck in a Game Boy shootout. The voice was feminine but mellow compared to the screeching from the next valley. Nevertheless, he slowly opened the door and staying on the top step looked out over the plains. The wind rippled through the wheat in the adjoining ranch land, a line of windbreak poplars a mile away threw long shadows towards him; the rising sun blinking through the branches if he turned his head this way and that. Maybe it was the soughing of the bowing wheat or the rippling poplar leaves whispering. ‘Say something, Abner.’ ‘No.’ He clapped his hand over his mouth to prevent more leakage. He wanted to reject the outside with the door, but he needed to check no one lurked behind the trailer. He reached back to his table grabbed his earplugs, and once his defences were inserted, he ventured out. The underneath of the trailer was boxed in to keep out critters, so he had no choice but to sneak around. Loose twigs, and stones seemed eager to make alert noises forcing him to step carefully. He shivered when his thin black shirt failed to protect him from the cool air rushing along from those dancing crops he’d just seen. He reached the corner of the trailer noting a long rust stain from a broken rain runoff spout. His body stayed put while his head and neck peered around. No one. The voice was either a random memory flash back or… he didn’t want to think about the alternative just yet. If it was memory then his earplugs would do nothing to stop him hearing such a summons again. But then would the physical act of putting in the earplugs tell his subconscious to stop hearing his name being called; like a pop-up blocker on the internet? Back inside, he again threw the switch on the electric kettle and shook some coffee grains from a jar of instant into a mug. No, he needed something more distracting, stronger. He opened the cupboard for his pa's Jack Daniels while the kettle gathered strength for its gurgling, A shot glass burned his throat, a second soothed it. The agitated kettle was put out of its misery and so as not to have wasted energy Abner poured himself a coffee. The aroma of old stale coffee would’ve bothered him before the whiskey but already his brain was relaxing. Damn it, he had to know. He pulled out both earplugs simultaneously. ‘—and we both know what that means, don’t we, Abner?’ ‘Go to hell.’ ‘Ah, hello, lover boy, and there's me thinking I’d got it all wrong.’ ‘Who are you?’ ‘Fair question,’ whispered the husky voice. Abner tried to place her, searching his memory for all the women he’d heard recently. Her accent was Manhattan. Wasn’t one of his high school teachers… No, this voice was deeper, but it could be why it rang familiar. He noted that she hadn’t given her name. ‘You gonna tell me?’ ‘Only if you help me and I sure need help, Abner.’ Weird, her voice while the same had slipped its accent to be nearer the prairies one he used. What if he went, say, Hillbilly, would she follow? Get a grip, man, this could be serious. How come he could talk to someone he couldn’t see, unaided, no cellphone? And they in return? It would mean he wasn’t the only one who could tune in to human voices miles away – up to four miles according to McBain – unless she really was close up and he hadn’t seen her. He hadn’t looked on the roof! ‘I know where you are.’ ‘Good, then tell me ‘cos I’ve no idea.’ That threw him. If she didn’t know where she was, maybe she really did need his help. If it was a bluff, what was the point? ‘What do you want from me?’ he said, knowing too late how feeble it sounded. ‘I need a friend, who like me, can hear voices miles away.’ If only. He would like a friend, especially with a similar hearing problem, and a woman. Even so, she can’t be for real. ‘Find another one. I want to be left alone.’ He heard the unmistakable sigh of exasperation. ‘Abner, you and I are the only ones.’ Suspicion bubbled up, fuelled by her accent switching back to pure Manhattan. ‘Okay, you aren’t on my roof, but you are with them – the Institute.’ ‘Roof? Ah, you think I’m that close. I wish I was, but I’m not too far away and I know where you are.’ ‘How did McBain track me down?’ The free flowing conversation halted as he waited for an answer. A minute passed, three. Maybe she was relating the communication to McBain. She was not as far away as Florida, but maybe she was phoning - texting. At last her voice. ‘Sorry about that, Abner, someone close by and I didn’t want them to think I was talking to myself.’ ‘Pretend you’re on a cellphone.’ ‘Good idea.’ ‘So, how did you track me down?’ Maybe she worked hard at avoiding his questions. ‘You must know that our aids are programmed to tune into just human voices, discarding other noises. That wasn’t easy, and involves probability functions, however, each person has a distinctive wave pattern. Humans already know this, after all, we recognise the voices of TV characters even when heard out of context, right?’ ‘So, you listened to a recording of my voice and was able to focus on it from a distance? I’m my own homing beacon? Hell, I don’t think I’m that good.’ Yes, he could track down a person, say, Clint Eastwood, using the memory of his voice, but only if he was within four miles of him in a sparsely populated area. Of course, he was at his parents’ holiday home – rather too easy for the military to guess, and then pass on to their human locator. She had yet to give him her name but would he believe it, any of it? He’d keep quiet for a while, see if she revealed more information if she, or they, thought he was sneaking away. ‘Abner, are you going to be my friend? Seems silly for the only two people in the world like us to be apart? You don’t need to worry, I’m a good looker; at least my mother says so. Haha. Okay then, my name is Harmony.’ Yeah right, Harmony for someone with hearing problems. He thought it funny too; funny that she thought he’d be sucked in by the old line that she was a beauty. He’d met a dozen women whose internet blind dates hooked him with gorgeous photos, but were plain insane Janes up close. Not that he would’ve minded if they’d indicated inclinations to his passion – wild plants. And nor had Harmony – he might as well go along with that name for her for now. Strange because if she was a pawn of the Institute or the military, then they’d have briefed her. Maybe she was saving it as a trump card. He smiled as he kept quiet. ‘Abner, you haven’t plugged your ears have you?’ Was that a genuine concern he detected in her voice? He stifled a laugh as he opened another ale. Hey, maybe he really should make his escape. He was too easy to find here. Maybe Harmony hadn’t gotten a good fix on him yet. Running looked an attractive course of action and before they send a helicopter. With his elbow in the air to drain the rest of the can, he froze. A different female voice to Harmony's. Faint, as if from inside a car, but getting closer. Even before he could discern her words, he knew the words came from the same woman as before. He tensed as he anticipated the cajoling she’d use to make Enrico torture the boy. Abner fingered his earplugs, rolling the two soft lumps around, wanting to cut out the horror and yet knowing how compelling the uniqueness of the situation was to witness it. Her voice, raised again, ‘Look, he's shit hisself. Now he’ll tell us.’ ‘No, he needs softening up more…’ Enrico's voice became indistinct. They must be right on the threshold of his hearing, or… oh no. He shoved in the earplugs just as the first scream travelled the four miles to him. Dead to the aural world, Abner stuffed a few travel and food essentials into a bag, but paused at the closed door. If he could hear whatever cabin torture was going on four miles away then so could Harmony. She could be up to four miles in the other direction, but either way it might be a trap, and help them to locate him. Naw, too unlikely. ‘Hey, Harmony, did you hear that quarrel?’ ‘Abner, what fight is that, honey?’ He stayed quiet. If genuine, it meant she was in the opposite direction of Enrico. It also meant that if he wanted to put distance between him and Harmony he had to travel towards the torturing. Dilemmas. Admittedly, he was drawn to the seductive tones of Harmony. If he could persuade himself that she was a genuine loner, like him, who needed company, and wasn’t there to take him back to the Institute… An if too many. Shouldering his stuff bag he closed the trailer door, descended the steps and stood on baked prairie dirt. He faced west towards the gulch he knew must hide a cabin, where a young man was being tortured. Part of him wanted to help, right the wrong, but the two assailants might be armed. Better to get to a phone. He stepped over a pile of rusting cans, and turned the corner of the trailer to face east. There lay Harmony, allegedly. Could be anywhere east in an arc from north to south. He felt he should head away from Harmony but not straight for Enrico's trouble spot. The nearest town was Topeka, fifteen miles to the southwest. Good choice but how to get there undetected? He’d arrived by bus from Florida and cab from Topeka, but vehicles raise dust. He’d have to walk. Hiking was a pleasure for him and he had no hurries. He grinned as a subterfuge sneaked into his head. He had to pull out an earplug, then flipped open his cellphone. Luckily, his aid dimmed local noises so he didn’t need to pull agonized faces as he put a call for a taxi from Kansas City airport, using his parents’ account, but directed to a store five miles north of the trailer. That Yellow Cab will smoke signal the wrong location to any watchers. He rammed the earplug back in before either shrieks from the west or entreats from the east tugged at him. Feeling pleased he set off. He never understood the difficulties most folk have with long walks. It only involved putting one foot in front of another. The thought amused him, and he followed his perambulatory advice although he had to stop to slip off his jacket because of the late-morning heat. Along the worn out tarmac, clumps of vicious thistles waited to ambush his ankles. Every few metres he’d step up on a rock or a gate to see any signs of the cab dust. He increased his pace feeling an increasing urgency to create distance. Even so, he’d stop to admire the sky blue of a cornflower, and once, alongside a derelict building, to gasp at the heady aroma of a fig tree in full bloom. He marched on with a mixture of concern and pleasure until the hairs on the back of his neck lifted. Not needing ears to feel the throbbing of rotor blades, Abner dived into the scrubby long grass beside the road. Grit and plant detritus flew up in mini tornadoes. A thought skidded through that maybe it was the crop-spray Huey from the Hogan Ranch a few miles south. With squinted eyes he looked up. An Army Apache helicopter hovered like an angry bee. *** Abner awoke in clean sheets; a consolation of being incarcerated within a ‘caring authority’ like a military hospital. They cared so much for him that he now had three instead of two armed guards, and two more to guard them. He had his own TV camera following him on a ceiling track even to the bathroom. While he sat in a clinical chair next to his bed, Dr Susan McBain entered. Abner smiled both in embarrassment at his escapade, and amusement because a guard shadowed the tall doctor. She motioned for Abner to remove his earplugs. He stiffened in readiness for the crashing waves of humanity's squabbling, but was shocked to find the volume turned to whisper. ‘That's right, Abner. While you slept, we tweaked the programming of your implant. With practice you should be able to adjust volume and range just by thinking about it.’ ‘What?’ ‘We use an ultra-sensitive detector, pretty much like an EEG. It picks up the electrical pulse of your auditory input as well as that of your thoughts, then actuate output—’ ‘Whoa. It's enough that it works.’ At last she smiled with perfect teeth. ‘And it will improve. This is cutting edge, Abner, we’re not even sure of the limits of its capability.’ He tapped his nose. ‘More than you’re letting on.’ ‘Meaning?’ ‘I know about another one of your experiments. She made contact with me.’ The doctor raised already tall red eyebrows to a greater height. ‘Explain.’ ‘You don’t deny that a woman, Harmony, is one of your cochlear implant experiments?’ Her green eyes looked at him showing no surprise. She turned and left, followed by her minder. Abner's stomach tightened as he thought maybe she didn’t know about Harmony. If that was the case who the hell was she? The doctor returned with an electronic pad. Abner saw photographs. ‘I didn’t see her.’ ‘Okay, but I need you to listen to these recordings, only a dozen.’ As his memory tested the voices for a match, he wondered if their owners had thought they were unique too. Harmony though, knew she wasn’t, and she must have concocted her name or McBain would have known it. He reached the end. ‘Either she was a good voice actor, or…’ ‘You worked it out, Abner. Your Harmony isn’t one of ours.’ While the consequences of the doctor's words danced in Abner's head the general showed up. ‘Hello again, Abner. Good to use near normal communications this time, yes?’ ‘Yes, Sir.’ ‘We’re going to offer you a job, Abner, but first have you any questions?’ ‘Yeah, can I not have a military job?’ Abner threw a frown. ‘What happened about that torture stuff I reported?’ ‘Those voices came from a cabin all right, they were playing a games console.’ Abner didn’t believe he made that mistake. ‘How did you track me down? I can’t believe my parent's trailer's on a database.’ ‘No, but their credit data is. You called a cab even if directed to a wrong location. Your cellphone got us your position.’ ‘Okay, so what d’yer want me to do, and how much do I get paid?’ *** Back in the trailer, at the pullout table, Abner yanked the tab on another can of beer even though it was dawn. His mission allowed as much time as he needed. No pressure. He’d carefully uprooted one of the Scarlet Pimpernel red flowers and potted it in a jam jar. It wilted for a whole day, but recovered its will to live and now looked a survivor, much like himself. In the rays of a desk lamp, the red petals opened. No rain today. He checked the clock. 5:08. Two minutes to go. Funny that she was working for another government all along and now he was being paid to bring her in, to his. Would she be there? ‘Hello Harmony, it's me, Abner. I’m ready to be your friend…’
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
This prototype explores a future technology designed for military purposes but which is being used in a civilian context. This future technology is far more advanced than current hearing aid applications which have seen major innovation over the last decade. The story implies that digital chips in hearing aids will continue to become much more advanced in capability, as improvements to current algorithms will be made and new algorithms will be created with inspiration from such sources as auditory models and other audio industries and . In respect to business application it highlights the not only commercial but also the social problems of trying to achieve commercial ‘spin-off’ from military technology. Not only are the technical specifications different, but the priorities and motivations of the marketplace differ considerably. Theoretically, the military could drive this cycle by itself, but Rottenberg said the problem is that the military traditionally has not been willing to compromise on “the specs that they really want,” which typically wrecks the potential economies of scale needed to drive costs downward. The role of the military in stimulating civilian technology, will be much diminished in the future, partly because its expenditures will decline, more because the civilian world is moving too fast for it. Governments (in this prototype the U.S. government) need to play more of an active role not only in diffusing technology, but also in generating it. Strategically this would involve supporting existing firms in developing particular products, deemed somehow to be of special significance. As their screening criteria and procedural proposals are too vague to be very helpful, this prototype opens a necessary debate.