This could be a game changer when traveling abroad.
We’ve all been there: You’re standing in a foreign country, struggling to communicate in another language, and kicking yourself for thinking that listening to 20 minutes of “how to speak whatever” on your phone during the plane ride over would somehow get you by. The Pilot, an earpiece being developed by the wearable-technology company Waverly Labs and designed for the international traveler, aims to change all that, so you never get lost in translation again.
The ‘smart earpiece,’ as the company calls it, and corresponding app, uses speech-recognition technology to translate in real time, so that two people speaking different languages can have a conversation without missing a beat. Of course, in order for the technology to work, both people need to be ‘hooked up,’ so to speak—which is why the set comes with two earpieces, one for each participant. The idea is that when language gets in the way, both people would put in an earpiece and speak in their preferred tongue.
In a video released by the company, founder Andrew Ochoa reveals that he came up with the idea when he “met a French girl” and wanted to communicate with her clearly. “It’s the dream, you know?” he says. “A life untethered, free of language barriers. It’s just that it’s no longer a dream anymore. It’s real.”
The Pilot will initially be released in European-based Romance and Germanic languages, including English, Spanish, French, and Italian, according to the company’s website. Following the first wave will be other world languages, such as Slavic, Semitic, Hindi, and East Asian.
Waverly Labs says that it will begin taking pre-orders through the crowdfunding site Indiegogo this spring, and the mobile app will launch this summer. Earpieces will be available by spring 2017.
The company says it’s created the world’s first smart earpiece language translator.
While prices could change, the earpieces are currently slated to go for $299, including access to select languages. Additional languages will be available via download.
On the Waverly Labs blog, the company has also announced a giveaway “as a celebration for our upcoming campaign.” Go to the Pilot’s launch page to enter.