New earpiece translates speech in real-time

23rd May 2016
Written by: Dave Owen

‘Pilot’ allows two people speaking different languages to chat

Language barriers can make travel feel difficult or daunting, but a new earpiece known as ‘Pilot’ could mean you never get lost in translation again.

The technology – which consists of two small Bluetooth earbuds (one for each speaker) and a smartphone app – promises to allow two people speaking in different languages to engage in a normal conversation.

The technology has been developed by New York-based Waverly Labs. While active, the app translates speech and sends it to the other person’s earpiece. A slight delay is involved, but Waverly Labs promises it is incredibly close to being real-time.

“It’s the dream, you know?” said Andrew Ochoa, founder of Waverly. “A life untethered, free of language barriers. It’s just that it’s no longer a dream anymore.”

The initial version of Pilot will support English, Spanish, French, and Italian. Other languages will become available in subsequent versions, and will cost extra to add to the app.

A launch date has not yet been set. In the mean time, Waverly will be launching a pre-order crowdfunding campaign. They are aiming for a price point of between £170-£200).

Although it doesn’t sound like a perfect solution to breaking down the language barrier – if you want to talk to a stranger, presumably you’ll need to hand them an earpiece first – Pilot could be a clear step forward from current translation technology.

Consider us cautiously excited.

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