Do you remember the universal translator from the movie Star Trek? Surely you do, how can you not the movie is fantastic. Those universal translators were used to tear down the language barriers. The movie is future based, scientists have been trying to find other life forms and make contact with them. Sometime in future we may be able to live in a truly ‘Universal Universe’, chances of happening that are there but for now we will keep that aside.
As today’s technology is advancing we are seeing more and more of fiction converted into reality. Waverly Labs a startup from New York is working on a new kind of earpiece which will be able to translate the spoken words in real time. Yes, the key word here is real time. Today for language translation we are dependent on Google’s Translator or Microsoft Bing Translator. Both of these provide good translations but when you are in face to face conversation then using these translator apps doesn’t feel natural.
Google with its Google Translate and Microsoft with Skype’s real-time translation are putting efforts in translation apps on mobile and desktop. Where Pilot differs from these it being a wearable device via which the listener will hear the real-time translations. To solve this issue Waverly Labs is making Bluetooth powered Pilot Smart Earpiece which will translate the words in real time while sitting in user’s ear. The earpiece will work in tandem with your smartphone providing you the translation.
Real-time spoken language translation seems a pretty great idea but it’s not as easy as it sounds. The device should be able to convert speech signal to text, then translate each language and all this needs to be done super quickly for real life time like experience. Then the device needs to convert the translation back into speech to send it back to the earpiece. And this is not all if the speakers are talking continuously the device needs to do all these tasks concurrently.
The Waverly Labs system is a three part system: Two Bluetooth Pilot earpiece and the phone which will work as the main brain for the system. At the time of launch the Pilot Smart Earpiece will be able to translate French, Spanish Italian into English and vice versa with support for other languages coming later. Check out the video below and see how Pilot works.
Place the earpiece in each of the user’s ear and talk normally. The Waverly Labs app will do the work of translating and send the voice into the earpiece for the users. With Pilot Smart Earpiece, you will be able to wirelessly stream music via an additional earpiece.
The project is open for backing up on Indiegogo and has already got a funding of around 2 million USD. The shipments are expected to start later this year. How well the device will work in real life situation remains to be seen but if it works as advertised then surely we can see the language barrier broken between humans and who knows one day we use similar kind of device to talk with our intergalactic friends.