Science fiction movies such as Star Trek and Snowpiercer feature technology that can instantly translate the words someone is speaking in real time and bridge communication gaps. It definitely sounds like a novel idea, and such a device would be able to not only change how we think, but how we learn, do business, and share our ideas around the globe.
Since the beginning of humanity, language has been a major issue that has kept people from freely sharing ideas, traveling, and working wherever they please. A device that instantly translates wouldn’t remove the need or desire to learn different languages, but it would make it easier to do things such as distribute aid and supplies during crises, help foreign travelers, and pick up the subtleties between various dialects.
Now, Waverly Labs has actually done what used to seem impossible and will soon release such a translator to the market. It’s called the Pilot, and it’s going to change the way that we communicate for some time to come.
What It Is
Unlike the bulky devices seen in futuristic films, the Pilot is very small and quite attractive. It looks very much like a colored earpiece, and sleek black, white, and red models have already debuted at trade shows and tech conferences. Waverly Labs, the company behind the Pilot, calls it a smart earpiece. Judging from the details about this tiny translator, “smart” is an understatement.
Andrew Ochoa founded Waverly Labs after he met a French girl who didn’t speak English. He wanted to talk to her, but simply couldn’t because they weren’t speaking the same lingo. After that encounter, he realized what a shame it was that most of the world is tethered to language barriers, and he wanted to come up with a way to solve this age old problem. It took some time, a lot of research, and thousands of hours of development, but his company has finally come up with a translator that is ready for market.
The Pilot works via speech recognition and translates instantly during a conversation. In order to work, both people speaking to each other need to wear a Pilot earpiece and speak into it. Think this will ratchet up the price of the device? Think again. Once it hits stores, each Pilot package will come with a set of two earpieces, and the price is not at all unreasonable.
To translate, each participant in the conversation simply talks in their preferred language. The device will instantly recognize what language it is, and then relay the message into the other person’s earpiece in their spoken tongue. There’s no hassle or complicated process to it, which is why so many people are eagerly awaiting the release of this product. It’s such a genius concept, yet it’s almost hard to believe that it’s going to be an actual thing. Videos from demonstrations that Waverly Labs has held and ads they’ve created featuring the Pilot provide proof that it really does work just as the company claims. If ever there was a case for how technology can benefit humanity, this would be it. Those who are impressed by the job that Google Translate does will likely be amazed when they see how well the Pilot works.
At first, the Pilot will come equipped with Germanic and European Romance languages, such as English, German, Italian, French, and Spanish. Soon after, other languages such as Hindi, East Asian, Slavic, and Semitic tongues will be added. Those who own a device will be able to download new languages to update their earpieces.
The Pilot Is a Game Changer
One of the major things that keeps people from traveling internationally isn’t money or getting time off work, but being able to speak the language well enough to get a hotel, find their way around, and order from restaurants. Being in another country thousands of miles from home is one thing, but the thought of doing so with little to no way of communicating with the locals makes many people anxious. Devices like the Pilot change this and prevent getting lost in translation. Want to order at Poilane in France, but don’t speak French? Use the Pilot to know what the bakers are saying. Itching to go to Russia, but you have no clue how to even start speaking it? Again, the Pilot could be your ticket to easier international travel.
It’s not just those on the go who will benefit from this technology, but people who are actually seeking to learn how to read, speak, and write in other tongues. One of the best ways to learn a language is to hear it being spoken. That’s how you detect inflections, accents, and all of the things that comprise a language and give it distinction. Using the Pilot while watching foreign films, going on foreign exchange trips, or attending multicultural events would definitely be handy for language learners. And for those who dabble into language learning as a hobby, the Pilot will certainly become a favorite new tech toy. The year that it’s released, don’t be surprised to see the device on the holiday and birthday wishlists of every bibliophile and linguistics aficionado that you know.
One of the most incredible things about the Pilot is how affordable it will be from its launch. An Indiegogo page has been set up to let anyone interested in ordering the Pilot know when it’s released, which will likely be spring 2017. There’s also plans to take pre-orders for the Pilot via Indiegogo that will range from $129 to $179 — that’s a nice discount off of the expected retail price of $249 to $299. The option to pre-order is expected to come in late May of 2016.
Being able to instantly translate for less than the price of a gaming console or laptop is incredible. Waverly Labs also has plans to launch a mobile app in summer 2016 that will make their new technology more accessible to people who can’t afford to buy the earpieces. Clearly, the Pilot is an example of how technology can — and should — be used to advance our world for the better.