Normally, I would file this under, “You don’t need this”, but I am intrigued because it’s science fiction come to life. The concept is simple, stick these things in your ear and it will translate the language via your mobile app. The ear buds acts as microphones, which transmits the audio to your phone to translate, then comes back into your ear.
The device is developed by Waverly Labs and pre-orders will set you back $249. Like the new iPhone bluetooth earbuds, you loose one and you’re screwed.
My curiosity is how well it works in public like a crowded restaurant or the street. If you ever used the Shazam app, you know your mobile phone picks up all sorts of background noise. I’m always tempted to scream out at a bar, “Can everybody be quiet for a second, I need to find out what song this is?”
As for use as a travel gadget, hmmmmmm, maybe. The hardest language barrier I came across was in Beijing and I doubt these ear buds would have made a difference. I would get frustrated after a few go arounds. I can imagine a conversation going like:
Me: “Hello, I would like to go the airport”
Driver: “Hello, you would to go to the passport?”
While I’m sure this is the first steps in this technology, I can see it working well in business meeting situations in quiet rooms between two peoples. When everyone talks at the same time, then you have a problem.
In the meantime, Google translate works just as well if you don’t mine sticking your phone into someone’s face to get a clear voice recognition.