This is part of a special series, presented by Thrivent Financial, that focuses on a diversity of American inventors and innovations.
Being able to understand what others are saying in an unfamiliar language seems to come straight from science fiction, but it's not as out of reach as we think. In fact, it's planned to be available on the market this year, and this remarkable translation ability rests in two tiny earbud-like pieces and a smartphone app.
Meet Pilot. It's the world's first wearable technology that's designed to translate different languages from a conversation in real-time. Developed by Waverly Labs, a tech start-up based in Brooklyn, New York, the Pilot leads the charge in this latest form of innovation of its kind. Though its development process is slow, you have to admire the group's ambition for such an undertaking. What began as a crowdfunding campaign on IndieGoGo in 2014 — only four years ago — has now become the launchpad for an exciting new chapter in our modern era. Will this be the real-life Star Trek Universal Translator? Will the Pilot become a must-have companion for international travel excursions? Perhaps there's only one way to know this: go where no one has gone before.
The Pilot works by having a normal conversation with the other person, and each of you sharing an earpiece. As you speak, the earpieces translate what you say, both audibly and through a text-like format in the phone app through wireless signals. You can also have a conversation with up to four people with the Pilot. At the time of this article, Waverly Labs is still taking preorders for their latest treasure in development. You can contact them here.
In this interview, CEO of Waverly Labs, Andrew Ochoa, tells us about why and where the idea for a translating earpiece came from:
Whether the Pilot becomes the future in international communication or not, the technology to harness it is certainly there, and it's exciting to see companies focused on innovative products that could bring more people together.
Now, who can work on the Star Trek Transporter? Beaming us up would be nice, Scotty.
Images via Waverly Labs.