Some people consider French the language of love (just don’t tell that to anyone speaking Italian/Spanish/Arabic/just about any other language), while in the case of Andrew Ochoa it was also a language he didn’t speak when he met a French girl and wanted to up his game from ‘Ça va’.
Source: Imgur.com Source: Reddit.com
Because hiring an interpreter to tag along and provide simultaneous translation was not an option, he developed a concept for an in-ear translator. While the concept for a wearable machine that translates speech isn’t particularly new as any Star Trek fan worth their Universal Translator replica would tell you, Pilot is the result of some serious R&D.
Ochoa did some stock-taking on the technology currently available, after which market research, design and prototyping followed, and now a crowdfunding project by Waverly Labs is trying to get a little gadget called Pilot off the ground and into the ears of people who a) would like to talk to each other but b) are separated by a language barrier.
How does Pilot work?
On the surface it’s pretty simple: Take an earpiece, stick it into your ear, and it will translate what the other person is saying.
However, it doesn’t work quite like the Babel Fish: the little alien fish would, once you stuck it into your ear, feed on brainwave energy emanating from people around its host, and conveniently convert any speech patterns you heard to whatever language happens to best suit your mind.
The first-generation version of Pilot is a lot more work and number-crunching - it fuses wearable technology, apps, speech recognition, machine translation and voice synthesis into an app+earpiece combo that can shuffle between English, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese via the app interface. Support for more languages is also in the pipeline.
No, really – how does it work? As in real life?
Sceptical, are we? Ok, check this out:
So: When you hear someone talking while wearing the Pilot earpiece, the sound will also be picked up by the microphone and fed to the Pilot app via a Bluetooth connection. Speech recognition is followed by machine translation and speech synthesis so that once whatever the other person said has been translated (in a second or two), it will be fed back to the listener’s earpiece which will play back the translation to you. Due to the processing required, there is a bit of a lag with a chance of random interpretations, but this is expected to become less of an issue as the translation engine gets smarter with improvements.
In the prototype version both participants of the conversation are required to have an earpiece. If a participant in the conversation doesn’t have an earpiece but has a mobile phone, they can consider getting the app and use the phone as an earpiece-substitute in order to take part in a group conversation. Early-bird adopters of the new tech should, if all goes well, get their Pilot earpieces (in a colour of their choice) sometime in 2017.
If you want to place your order for a Pilot, you can find the Waverly Labs page here.
Once you’ve paired Pilot with your augmented-reality Google Translate appyou can almost forget about language lessons… at least as long as your phone has a very long battery life (do they ever?) and the people you speak to don’t mind you being glued to your phone while they are talking to you.
Did you know?
If you accidentally changed your casino language at Euro Palace to French, you don’t have to wait for the Pilot earpiece to start shipping or dig out your phone and point Google Translate to it in order to play – just check out our blog on how to change it back to whichever of the 10 languages that we offer suits you best, on Browser or on Mobile!
Read more: Changing the casino language is easy as 1-2-3
Thanks for reading, everybody, and enjoy your games!