Technology

Who Needs a Translator When You Have The Pilot Earpiece?

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The Pilot earpiece is a real-time translator: It listens to your conversation and automatically translates the language being spoken to your native tongue.

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Why It's Innovative

For anyone who has ever struggled to make a connection because of a language barrier, the Pilot earpiece could be your savior. In fact, the real-time translation device was inspired by a potential romance that was thwarted by this very disconnect. "I came up with the idea of a translator when I met a French girl," Andrew Ochoa, founder of Brooklyn's Waverly Labs, explains in a company promo for the product.

Translation technology has come a long way in a short amount of time, but this device has the potential to change the game completely. Here's how it works: you and the person you are talking to must both insert the standalone earpiece, connect it wirelessly to its accompanying smartphone app, then just start talking to someone. Poof! You and your spanish-speaking neighbor can finally say more to each other than just hello. The Pilot doesn't need a network connection to function, making it a potential boon for overseas travelers and researchers in remote locations.

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Why People Are Talking About It

The Pilot raised more than $3 million (and generated plenty of buzz) through its Indiegogo campaign, but there are some doubters. As journalist Paul Armstrong wrote for Forbes, "The 'hearables' market is young, Pilot would be a leap based on what is currently out there - not unheard of - but highly surprising," and continued that he is "extremely skeptical" about the device. Still, the folks at Waverly Labs are advertising a May 2017 launch date for translation in English, Spanish, French, Italian and Portuguese (with Germanic, Hebrew, Arabic, Russian and Slavic, East Asian and African following closely behind) and in the meantime, the conversation about (and, desire for) improved translation technology won't be slowing down any time soon.

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Editors' Picks: Our Favorite Videos About Languages And Translation

See The Pilot Earbuds In Action

Watch an English speaker and French speaker connect using the Pilot.

Why Do Computers Suck At Translation?

It's surprisingly difficult to get it right.

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