Wearable Translation

nym | 12:59 PM


Last month, Carnegie Mellon University and German scientists unveilled a new babelfish like invention using wearable computing and electrodes which translateds mouthed words into other languages, effectively becoming a personal translator. In addition, using a head mounted display (see above), they are able to translate audio around the wearer into their native tounge on their goggles. This collaborative effort between the CMU campus in Oakland and at the University of Karlsruhe in Germany is called interACT and while imperfect, is making huge leaps in breaking down linguistic barriers.

CMU computer science graduate student Stan Jou, 34, of Shadyside, stood before the audience yesterday morning with 11 tiny electrodes affixed to the muscles of his cheeks, neck and throat.

The Taiwan native then mouthed -- without speaking aloud -- the following phrase in Mandarin Chinese: "Let me introduce our new prototype."

The sensors captured electrical signals from Jou's facial muscles when they moved to form the silent Chinese words. In a matter of seconds, this information traveled to a computer that recognized the words and translated them into English and Spanish. The phrase was then displayed on a screen and spoken by the computer in both languages.

This is the kind of tech that is truely delicious and empowers people everywhere, even if it isn't perfect... yet.

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