Star trek has given us ideas for so many gadgets. Right from Skype to cell phone to flip phones and even tablets. The latest one that has come straight out of the revolutionary science fiction series is the universal translator. Remember when Captain Kirk and the rest of the crew used to hold a flip phone like gadget and understand whatever the language the alien race in front of them was talking? Something like that but just for languages that us earthlings can speak is the limit for this device for now. This device is called the Pilot. Let us look more into it right now.
Well we have advanced it a little bit and made it into a tiny little earpiece that looks something like the secret agents in a spy movies wear. It is available in three colours for now and is able to translate into four languages into each other namely the romantic languages English, Spanish, French and Italian. Plans are for the future for more languages like Hindi, semitic, Arabic, Slavic and African. Of course, there are always *conditions apply that say that the translations are for common dialects and not for thick accents.
Let us take a look at how it looks now,
Looks rather chic and not at all a futuristic revolutionary invention right? Well that’s the plan for the CEO of the company that made this: Waverly labs. This technology was the brainchild of the one important person of this company, CEO Andrew ochoa.
How he came up with this idea is rather extraordinary. He liked a French girl wanted to talk to her without translation from either of them but understanding what each other said. So he made a translator that would do the work for him. The video in their website tells this story while the Pilot is in action.
How does it work?
Now thats the million dollar question isn’t it? It works just like any other translator actually. It recognises the words in the voice that is spoken to it. The complex circuitry converts it into the language that the processor can understand it. It then passes through the smartphone app and layers of speech recognition, machine translation and speech synthesis. No those are not mumbo jumbo. Recognises your voices, translates it into a language it can understand, translates back into the language that you want to understand and makes it into a voice that you want to hear it in. (Lots of translations for a translator!!)
So what is there inside this pilot to make such complicated translations?
Yup, the ARM processor. It uses the same chip architecture that your iPhone uses, I guess many of you would be impressed or feel that may be this may not be that bad a gadget.
How does it fare over its competitors?
Trust me, even though this technology seems revolutionary they are not the first in the business. They are just the first in the business to make a special device for it and make it more “handy”.
The predecessor to the Pilot and considered the biggest competitor is of course the Skype translator. It got released last October, it records what the speaker says, uses a speech recognition system to convert the file to text before relaying it out through a robotic voice. Another aspect of the competition for Skype translator would have to be the near real-time translation of voice and video calls, in seven languages and instant messages in over 50, from Arabic to Yucatec Maya. This would be a huge letdown for the Pilot as it has not yet tapped into the real time translation with having a bigger lag over skype translator.
Another big corporation that would be a bumper in their road to absolute success would be google. They don’t have a working (or “Talking”) translator like the Skype translator yet but their text and speech translator is still pretty impressive with almost absolute real-time translation.
But what is impressive about the gang at Waverly labs is that being a startup and with enough crowd funded money, they can take over the world. Who knows they could even become big enough to become the big brother that the world is inevitable waiting for.