The Mark-IX Starfleet Personnel Communications System, more informally known as a "comm badge", is a small and easily manufactured two-way audio communications device, with an integrated MARK-XIII Universal Translator.
The Comm Badge itself is remarkably small, and consists of four primary components:
1) TRANSMITTER/TRANCEIVER. The small transmitter is powered from the micro battery at the center of the badge, and is capable of contacting corresponding badges or ships from great distances, often from away teams to ships in orbit. As with any communications gear, adverse weather conditions can affect the transmitter, and more complex atmospheric conditions often require larger, backpack transmitters, or stationary ground-orbit transmitters.
2) MICROPHONE. This small, time-tested device is located at the top of the badge, and is capable of being fine tuned to pick up even ultrasonic sounds. It can detect even low whispers, and is quite sensitive.
3) UNIVERSAL TRANSMITTER. The Universal Transmitter is a remarkable computer analysis unit/database honed over centuries of language-analysis research. The UT can convert known languages with a high degree of precision (for example, flawless Andorian-Bolian), and can analyze unknown languages with an excellent degree of accuracy, using adaptive vocal and inflection analysis subroutines.
4) SONIC-KINETIC EMITTER ("Speaker"). Once a signal is recieved by the transmitter/tranceiver, it passes through the Universal Translator, and is then rebroadcast. The S-K emitter is located near the back of the badge and sends an oscillating sonic pulse. The pulse uses the wearer's own body as a conduction medium, and the user's auditory organs convert the vibration, which terminates at the auditory canal, into clear, ordinary sound. Older models used an ancient, conventional speaker, but this is a liability on covert mission, and the S-K emitter is essentially standard.