Milo portable action communication ships for outdoor adventurers

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Loose Cannon Systems has started shipping its Milo handheld action communicators as reimagined walkie-talkies for outdoor adventurers.

You can use them to talk with groups of friends and family while you ride, surf, ski and more. The Milo Communicator is hands-free, phone-free, and requires no Wi-Fi or cell signal. It also incorporates some interesting AI technology.

Loose Cannon Systems first unveiled the Milo through a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign in October 2020. But it took a few years to come out thanks in part to supply chain challenges during the pandemic.

“We’re finally in mass production,” Loose Cannon Systems CEO Peter Celinski said in an interview with VentureBeat. “Supply chain has been crazy for everyone over the past two years. We have been very lucky in our relationships thanks to our investors.

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Peter Celinski is CEO of Loose Cannon Systems.

The company is shipping first to those who have ordered 17,000 units through the Kickstarter campaign. And then it will ship to retail in the second half of December. It is now taking pre-orders for online sales.

Celinski came up with the idea for Milo as a beginner skier (he grew up in Australia). He followed his children up Whistler Mountain in Canada. Then he realized that he couldn’t communicate with them because they were ahead of him. And he saw that walkie-talkies would have the range or the convenience – have you ever tried using one while skiing? – on the mountain.

“Outdoor sports are our priority,” Celinski said. “It makes sense at this point in the pandemic, as we have seen a massive shift towards outdoor activities. The ski season promises to be massive. Knock on wood.”

Celinski that the $250 (229 euros) device takes advantage of technologies such as mesh wireless networks and AI to go beyond the walkie-talkie and enable simple, multi-directional group voice conversations in the moments that matter most, transforming outdoor adventures on trails, slopes or water.

Designed for adventure enthusiasts, Milo incorporates a variety of world’s first patented features to deliver high quality natural conversation, packaged in a simple and beautiful design. By attaching Milo to a bicycle handlebar, jacket pocket or bag strap, a group can instantly communicate hands-free, eye-free and phone-free. This “in the moment” conversation revolutionizes the adventure experience.

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Milo can keep friends and family close while skiing, hiking or other outdoor activities.

Loose Cannon Systems raised $2.6 million in the Kickstarter campaign.

Milo was selected as one of TIME’s Top Inventions of 2022 and received top honors from the
the two most important design competitions in the world, winning the IDEA Gold Award for 2022 and the
Red Dot: Best Product Design Award for 2022.

Several athletes, film producers and adventurers have used Milos and the feedback has been good.

“In the mountains, communication is essential. Milo allows us to stay connected and share the fun while we ride,” Michelle Parker, Red Bull athlete and professional skier, said in a statement. “Revolutionary.”

And Gabe Ferguson, professional snowboarder, said in a statement: “To fall into a crazy line while talking about Milo with my buddies completely changes the experience. Epic times ahead with Milo changes everything.

Celinski gave me a demonstration of the product. I wore a Milo on my jacket and he put one on his. It paired it easily and I got an audio prompt when it was added to my chat. He started to walk away and continued to talk as he did. The connection eventually dropped, but only after Milo told me he had dropped the conversation.

How it works

Milo easily attaches to your backpack or jacket.

When a user speaks, Milo picks up the voice and transmits it to others without having to stop to press a button. The other members of the group hear the voices received via the built-in loudspeaker or the connected headset.

Sophisticated audio processing algorithms are combined with six built-in digital microphones and a custom built-in speaker to deliver clear voice even in windy or noisy conditions or when traveling at high speed. Milo can optionally be connected to a Bluetooth or wired headset and is also waterproof and robust.

Milo offers a range of over 2,000 feet (600 meters) between two Milo devices in the group (depending on terrain). The proprietary, encrypted MiloNet mesh network extends reach (daisy chain style) for all members of the group if three or more members are scattered farther away.

Milo features include multi-way group full-duplex voice, which means two-way phone quality. It features a proprietary MiloNet mesh network that extends its reach for groups of three or more. It is IP67 waterproof and tested to depths of three meters for short durations. It is sturdy and impact resistant.

And it’s designed to deliver loud, clear voice even in noisy outdoor conditions, thanks to advanced proprietary acoustic and wind noise reduction algorithms. It has a custom built-in speaker to make Milo loud and clear, and it’s encrypted and secure. No Wi-Fi or mobile signal required as Milo devices establish their own network. Optionally, Milo can be connected to a Bluetooth or wired headset.

Milo has a range of approximately 2,000 feet.

Milo uses network event notifications to provide situational awareness with audible notifications such as “Sam has joined the party”. If someone leaves the group, you might wonder if someone was left behind because of a fall on the slopes. It runs all day on one battery charge.

“It’s been an incredibly tough journey over the past two years,” Celinski said. “You can imagine what it was like for a company like ours. We focused on quality.

The device has a quad-core Arm-based processor running at over a gigahertz and it runs Linux with modular software.

Celinski said the company is considering new software features it will offer in the future, some of which leverage the device’s technology. Theoretically, a device with sensors could detect if someone has fallen, or at least gone from 35 miles per hour to zero in a very short time.

“When you are outdoors, you always want to communicate with the people around you. That’s sort of the core value proposition,” he said. “And then we develop that.”

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