As any person who's ever tried to manage in a foreign country without much grasp of the regional language can tell you, extra-large hand gestures and speaking English loudly, slowly and in a poorly imitated accent will only get you so far.
However a cool brand-new wearable technology might soon make speaking with people from other cultures a lot easier affair, with New York City-based start-up Waverly Labs about to release what they're asserting is the world's very first 'smart' earpiece that translates in between users speaking various languages.
Called the Pilot, the earpiece is shaped similar to a regular earbud, however comes without any wires or cables. It sits in your ear, and even works without an internet connection quite helpful, particularly for people travelling overseas-- it translates words being spoken to you in another language on the fly. You can get a concept of what the process looks like in the promotion video below.
Simply puts, it's basically the precise technological equivalent of the Babel fish from Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy-- other than it's unfortunately restricted to Earth-based languages and won't be able to translate any alien words for you.
However as long as it's human tongues you want, the Pilot aims to have you quite well covered. The preliminary release, which is expected to launch next week on Indiegogo-- although shipped products may not be delivered to you until later in the year-- includes English, Spanish, French, and Italian. Waverly Labs says other languages will likewise be readily available quickly, including Hindi, Arabic, East Asian and Slavic languages.
Of course, it's worth explaining that the Pilot hasn't actually come out yet, so we need to keep our expectations in check until more is found out about the final product. The company says it will be sharing more information on the earpiece this week on its website, with the Indiegogo campaign kicking off on May 25.
So today, technological details on how the Pilot runs are a little limited. It appears like the gadget is able to function without a web connection by coupling with an accompanying smartphone app, although exactly how this works remains unclear.
What we do know is that the market price is anticipated to be US$ 249-$299, although early bird specials will start at $129 on Indiegogo.
Waverly Labs says each pack contains two earpieces, so two people will have the ability to comprehend one another, supplied you're speaking in supported languages. The first generation of the gadget only works when you're speaking with someone who likewise has the earbud, but the business states future variations will have the ability to equate from any spoken source around you.
And if you've only got one earbud on you, the other person can speak into the Pilot app on their smartphone, and the translation feature will still work apparently. Cool!
We're pretty impressed by the concept up until now, but we'll have to wait to see more details when they're revealed, either on the Waverly Labs site or on Indiegogo when the crowdfunding campaign begins in earnest. Fingers crossed the end product provides on its early promise, which up until now looks really helpful certainly!
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