Pilot Earbud Translates Languages in Real-Time

Waverly Labs has developed a universal language translator that sits in your ear. It's called the Pilot.

Language is a road block preventing us from truly understanding one another. It's alienating not being able to fully communicate an idea. But a new technology may change all that, and put translators out of a job. The company behind this latest development is Waverly Labs. This start-up based in New York City claims it has developed the first smart earpiece capable of translating between users speaking a different language.

A universal translator has been a longtime dream, romanticized in such shows as Star Trek. It was made out of necessity; exploring strange new worlds often means communicating with other species. The story of the Pilot earpiece’s development was born out of something else: love. This is what happens when an English-speaking engineer falls in love with a French-speaking woman:

The Pilot sits in the ear and translates when someone is speaking another language, relaying to the wearer what has been said in a Siri-esque voice. It allows each speaker to communicate in their native tongue and be understood.

The company claims the Pilot will be able to translate between English, Spanish, French, and Italian when it comes out. It’s also working to expand its translator to understand a number of other languages, including Hindi, Arabic, East Asian, Semitic, African, and Slavic.

According to the company website, the earpiece will be able to work offline. But the earpiece will need to pair with a smartphone loaded with the Pilot app where the language database may will live. In that case, it's important to consider if current smartphones would have the necessary computing power to process these translation requests. Think about it this way: Siri processes user requests in the cloud and then relays them back to your phone. So, Waverly Labs achieving offline language processing and translation would be a big deal.

It's important to note Waverly Labs is looking for funding to make this product a reality. It’s planning to kick-off an Indiegogo campaign on May 25. At retail, the Pilot will run between $249-$299 (2 earpieces total). As for when these universal translators will be available, it’s hard to tell with most crowdfunding campaigns. Waverly Labs says it’s aiming to deliver on Indiegogo orders by next spring.


Photo Credit: Waverly Labs

Natalie has been writing professionally for about 6 years. After graduating from Ithaca College with a degree in Feature Writing, she snagged a job at PCMag.com where she had the opportunity to review all the latest consumer gadgets. Since then she has become a writer for hire, freelancing for various websites. In her spare time, you may find her riding her motorcycle, reading YA novels, hiking, or playing video games. Follow her on Twitter: @nat_schumaker

3D printing might save your life one day. It's transforming medicine and health care.

What can 3D printing do for medicine? The "sky is the limit," says Northwell Health researcher Dr. Todd Goldstein.

Northwell Health
Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • Medical professionals are currently using 3D printers to create prosthetics and patient-specific organ models that doctors can use to prepare for surgery.
  • Eventually, scientists hope to print patient-specific organs that can be transplanted safely into the human body.
  • Northwell Health, New York State's largest health care provider, is pioneering 3D printing in medicine in three key ways.
Keep reading Show less

Forget "text neck." New research suggests humans are growing horns.

Three academic papers from Australia shows sizable bone spurs growing at the base of our skulls.

Surprising Science
  • A team of researchers in Queensland says 33% of the Australian population has sizable bone spurs growing at the base of their skulls.
  • This postural deformity, enthesophytes, results in chronic headaches and upper back and neck pain.
  • The likelihood humans will alter their addiction to this technology is low, so this might be a major consequence of technology.
Keep reading Show less

Scientists turn nuclear waste into diamond batteries

They'll reportedly last for thousands of years. This technology may someday power spacecraft, satellites, high-flying drones, and pacemakers.

Woman looking at a diamond.

Nuclear energy is carbon free, which makes it an attractive and practical alternative to fossil fuels, as it doesn't contribute to global warming. We also have the infrastructure for it already in place. It's nuclear waste that makes fission bad for the environment. And it lasts for so long, some isotopes for thousands of years. Nuclear fuel is comprised of ceramic pellets of uranium-235 placed within metal rods. After fission takes place, two radioactive isotopes are left over: cesium-137 and strontium-90.

Keep reading Show less

Facebook finally unveils its cryptocurrency. What we know about Libra so far.

Facebook was careful to say that Libra is not maintained internally and is instead serviced by a non-profit collective of companies.

Technology & Innovation
  • Facebook has just announced its new cryptocurrency, Libra.
  • Early investors include many of the world's leading companies, implying they will accept Libra as payment
  • The announcement was met with a mixed response, but only time will tell how Libra will be received
Keep reading Show less