Translation technology has just reached a whole new level with ‘Pilot’ – the world’s first smart earpiece that can translate foreign languages in real time. So two people who speak different languages can actually understand each other using Pilot, and engage in a normal conversation.
Developed by New York-based Waverly Labs, Pilot is a three-part system – two small Bluetooth earbuds, one for each interlocutor, and a smartphone app doing the actual translation. So you and this other person speak normally – each in your own language – and the Waverly Labs app translates and sends a voice with the other person’s speech to the earpiece. There will obviously be some delay, so it’s not exactly real time, but it’s pretty close. The initial version will support a number of European languages (English, Spanish, French, Italian). Other languages, like Hindi, Semitic, East Asian, Arabic, Slavic, and African will be included in subsequent versions, but you’ll have to pay for them, unless you preorder the system.
Andrew Ochoa, founder of Waverly, said he got the idea for the device after meeting a French girl. “It’s the dream, you know?” he said. “A life untethered, free of language barriers. It’s just that it’s no longer a dream anymore.”
The promo video for Pilot, shared on the company’s Facebook page, has gone viral with over seven million views and 160,000 shares. The launch date has not been announced yet, but the creators have promised to give away one device for free each week until the launch. Meanwhile, they’re also running a crowdfunding campaign to be able to release Pilot at a retail price of $299.
“We’ve spent a long time working on this and we’re so thrilled to see that people actually want to be on this journey with us,” they wrote in a blog post. “Some of the stories we’ve received have been wonderful.”
If the Pilot is half as good as it seems to be, it’s probably going to break language barriers even better than the popular Iconspeak T-shirt.