Many people are familiar with the experience of being in a foreign country and being unable to communicate with others to ask for directions or order from a menu due to the language barrier. Thanks to a new technological innovation, this may be a thing of the past. The Pilot earphones will allow two people speaking different languages to understand each other.
Pilot is supposedly the first ‘smart earpiece’ capable of translating between two languages. The gadget will launch to translate between English, French, Spanish and Italian in Autumn of this year. Pilot will cost US$129 and will be available for pre-order on their website.
The device works through connecting to two different people, speaking two different languages. It will translate what each person is saying directly into the communication partner’s ear.
Waverly Labs, who have developed the technology, said on their website: “This little wearable uses translation technology to allow two people to speak different languages but still clearly understand each other”.
The exact mechanism underpinning the device has yet to be specified, however it has been described as using “translation technology” embedded in the application. The first device to be released will work only between individuals; however the developers of this new technology hope to optimise the devise to be able to translate all foreign speech input around the user.
Waverly Labs, a New York-based company, said one of their technicians came up with the idea after “meeting a French girl” and wanting to communicate with her. Pilot earpieces are to come in three colours and will be able to be pre-ordered from the 25th May.
While this technology is groundbreaking, there are other companies working on similar projects with the aim of real-time translation. The Google Translate app is able to translate in real time, speech is input into the phone from one language and output in another. Skype is now also able to translate between speakers of seven different languages.
The chief envisioning officer of Microsoft UK has also claimed that in the next five years, we will be able to translate one another from any language to any language with just a smart phone between us.