Last year Waverly Labs launched an Indiegogo campaign for something called the Pilot Translation Earpiece. The name is fairly self-explanatory: they are earpieces that connect to your phone, and translate foreign languages in real time. It's basically the technological equivalent of the Babel Fish. Now, at MWC, CNET is reporting that the product will be going on general sale this year.
In case you didn't see the Pilot while the campaign was happening, they're earbuds that connect to an app on your phone and use machine learning to translate conversations from one language to another. It picks up what another person is saying, translates it, then plays that translation into your ear. The great thing about it is that, according to Waverly Labs, is that you don't need both earpieces for the full effect. You can hand one over to another person, meaning you should be able to converse without knowing each other's native tongue.
Alternatively, if you don't want any pricey hardware, you can simply use the app on your phone to translate what people are saying with the aid of your phone's speaker. Though, naturally, it doesn't have quite the same effect.
Support for French, Spanish, English, Portuguese and Italian bundled in free of charge. More languages are coming, however, with a number of paid-for language packs arriving in the Autumn. These include Mandarin, Turkish, Arabic, German, Greek, Korean, Polish, Russian, Japanese, and Hindi.
The earbuds also function as a Bluetooth headset, letting you make hands-free phone calls and listen to music without any wires. Like other totally-wire free earbuds, the Pilot charges inside its case. Unfortunately it can't feed off brainwaves like it's sci-fi analogue.
Waverly Labs' website has opened pre-orders on the Pilot earpiece, which will set currently you back $249 (£200). Once they go on general sale, however, that price goes up to $299 (£240). Waverly estimates that the Pilot will ship in late summer, so unfortunately it'll probably arrive a bit too late for your holiday in the Spanish Riviera. [Waverly Labs | CNet via Ubergizmo]
Giz UK is on the floor at MWC in Barcelona! We're going to have plenty of coverage coming in over the next few days, and you can catch up on it all here.