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NEC unveils eyewear translator

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Most eyewear improves vision or cuts through solar glare, but a new gadget from Japan may soon sharpen linguistic skills and cut down language barriers instead. NEC has come up with a device that it says will allow users to communicate with people of different languages.

Shaped like a pair of eye-glasses, but without the lenses, the computer-assisted Tele Scouter would use an imaging device to project almost real-time translations directly onto the user's retina.

The text -- provided instantly through voice recognition and translation programs -- would effectively provide movie-like 'subtitles' during a conversation between two people wearing the glasses.

"You can keep the conversation flowing," NEC market development official Takayuki Omino said at a Tokyo exposition where the device was on display. "This could also be used for talks involving confidential information," negating the need for a human translator, said Omino.

Each user's spoken words would be picked up by a microphone, translated, and be instantly available for the counterpart in both visual text and as audio delivered through headphones.

Users can still see their conversation partner's face because the text is projected onto only part of the retina -- the first time such technology is used in a commercial product, according to NEC.

The company plans to launch the Tele Scouter in Japan in November next year, although initially without the translation mode.

NEC says the device can have other uses aside from translation. For example, it could be useful for salespeople if it is linked with a camera, face-recognition software and a store's client database by instantly providing them with a customer's purchase history.

"It's best if you know the customer personally for individual sales pitches, but that can be difficult at big stores," Omino said. "This device can be a weapon for salespeople on the floor."

The model for sales staff and for translations is to be launched in 2011, Omino said.

A set intended for companies with 30 eyewear units would sell at 7.5 million yen, plus the cost of any customized software application.

© Wire reports

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.


10 Comments
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Costly & still in prototype form I can see it as useful for someone that has just lost their hearing though might have the money. It happened to me of where others were saying things & I did not know what they were saying.

Fortunately my PD spotted wax in my ear & that was the answer once removed.

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I will talk to my... superiors about ordering these for our... long trips overseas.

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I have been interested in this product. Is a correct translation to be done?

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Please note that it says both people have to wearing the glasses, so buying them here and taking them on trips with you is not going to work unless you can talk other people into wearing these rediculous looking glasses.

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Ha! The next step onto the Star Trek universal translator!

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thepro:

" I have been interested in this product. Is a correct translation to be done? "

If you are willing to entrust your conversation to bablefish, sure. :-)

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And to think, all these years I've been doing it the hard way.

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This is a good mockup of different technologies that are already available. However, the AI needs to immprove in many levels for this to work. Also, there is still no idea of the context, so the computer will not be able to interpret things correctly.

It may be better to use a remote VOIP system to stream live audio and video to a translator in a remote location. Would cost more than this, but is cheaper than a full-time translator.

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kick ass..the future is NOW!! hehehe

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All you English teachers, be warned: Start looking for a new line of work ASAP

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