The Pilot lets you nestle a personal interpreter directly into your ear canal

In case you missed it, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’s Babel Fish is an in-ear gadget capable of translating speech from one language into another, making for a wearable Google Translate of sorts. The Pilot, a Waverly Labs’ innovation, is also that: a pair of wireless headphones capable of interpreting English, Spanish, French and Italian at launch, with additional support for Eastern Asian, Hindi, Semitic, Arabic, Slavic and African languages arriving soon after.

Of course, with such novel technology there’s bound to be a discrepancy between what remains in the realm of sci-fi and what is capable in modern day. For one thing, there is a bit of a lag between speech time and translation, as the Pilot needs to hear, process, decipher and spit out the same thing that was said in another language, all the while accounting for syntax, grammar and diction in that new language. Moreover, with different dialects in any given language, and accents that accompany said dialect (some thicker than others), not everything that’s been said will be picked up accurately by the earpieces. Perhaps the biggest flaw in the first-generation device however is that it only works when speaking with another person who owns the earpieces, further isolating the potential audience for this device.

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