The High Tech Society

Pilot: The Smart Earpiece That Promises to Translate in Real Time

Some, but not all of us, remember, in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, when a small, yellow, leech like fish is shoved into Arthur Dent’s ear and he is suddenly able to comprehend everyone in the Universe. Others are more familiar with more recent sci-fi imaginations, which are largely earpieces that translate languages in real time into perfect English, French, or whatever. But, surprisingly, that technology is more real that most of us would think, and luckily, it has nothing to do with a small, yellow, leech-like fish. The Pilot is a Kickstarter campaign aimed at bringing a real time translator to life in the form of a simple earpiece that connects to an app, and allows you to select languages, gender, and much more, so that you can talk with someone in another language without using a device in between you.

While there are still obvious gaps in translation technology, the device itself is quite simply one that we’ve been dreaming of for decades, and now it’s a reality.

Meet the Pilot Earbuds

Waverly Labs, the company behind the Pilot earpiece, combines existing translation technology with their earpiece and dictation technology with the result of an in-ear translator takes audio, converts it to a language of your choice, and broadcasts it either through your phone speakers or through a paired Pilot. The result is literally that one person can speak in their own language, and the other person hears it through their Pilot in their language. So, when traveling abroad, you can talk to anyone, without a technology barrier, simply by both using the Pilot

How It Works

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The Pilot works using existing voice translation, which means that it picks up audio in one earpiece, transfers it to your phone, where it is translated, and then transfers that to the paired earpiece, where voice synthesis is used to read the translations. When person B replies, the translation takes the opposite route, going back in the other direction, to earpiece A.

All of the actual translation is done on your phone, which means that the earpiece can stay small, remain wireless, and you won’t have to worry too much about battery life. And because it translates in real time, there is a very small gap between what you say and what the other person hears.

Features and Specs

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The Pilot earbuds are two wireless earbuds that are available in red, white, and black, and the earbuds themselves are mainly focused on working as high quality microphones and speakers. The wireless earbuds fit into the ear (Although wireless means you have a higher chance of losing them) and feature two built in noise-cancelling microphones to pick up what you are saying, and what the other person is saying. The Pilot uses Bluetooth Low Energy and NFMI (Near-Field Magnetic Induction Communication) to transfer data, and as a result, the rechargeable batteries offer 4-6 hours of talk time per charge.

So, What’s the Big Deal?

Most of us know that you can get a translation app almost anywhere and that newer translations are high quality, very fast, and are relatively good at translation. Pilot’s step is that they took all of this technology and put it into one device, which allows for better communication, easier communication, and cuts language and technology barriers. Like any translation technology, the Pilot is sure to have difficulties with language specific idioms and anecdotes, but it could prove nearly invaluable to travelers, to persons learning a language, and to diplomats, businessmen, and military officials who must frequently interact with people speaking in another language. Or, if you’re traveling, it could help you to strike up a conversation with just about anyone.

Currently the Pilot is available on their Kickstarter page for $199 + shipping.