Waverly Labs has created the first in-ear device that translates languages in real-time. The project, known as the Pilot system, is already available on a waiting list, and will retail for just $129 in three colours once commercial.
The device works quite simply…there are two earpieces available, one for each person of the intended use. When fitted in your ear, users select the two languages to translate between, via a smartphone app, and you’re good to go. When one user speaks, the earpiece on the other end picks up the spoken language and transmits the translated words via a speaker.
For those who’ve seen Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy may be familiar with the Babel fish, a fictitious yellow, leech-like fish, that feeds on brain wave energy. It absorbs all unconscious frequencies and then excretes, telepathically, a matrix formed from the conscious frequencies and nerve signals picked up from the speech centres of the brain. This odd process has a practical advantage that when a Babel fish is placed in your ear, you immediately understand anything that is spoken in any form of language. While not as crazily outrageous, the Pilot works similarly by being placed in-ear to translate speech from individuals not speaking your mother tongue.
This invention is a great method to get around the obvious language barriers when travelling abroad, or even entertaining and meeting foreigners locally. The device is expected to reach shelves across the world in September 2016, and will be available for translation between English, French, Spanish, and Italian.