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Glasses Provide Subtitles For Foreign Language Conversations

Powell designed glasses with built-in screens that translate speech, the translation appearing live as subtitles floating in front of the wearer’s eyes

The translated conversation is displayed on a monitor. (Will Powell)

Drawing inspiration from Google’s upcoming Project Glass, a form of head-mounted glasses-style computer that is roughly equivalent to stapling your smart phone to your face, engineer and designer Will Powell put together a make-shift device to show some of the dramatic ways life will change in our augmented future.

The above video shows Powell’s Frankenstein concoction: a set of glasses with built in screens is driven by external computing power to translate Spanish speech into English, which appears live as subtitles floating in front of the wearer’s eyes. Powell’s creation has a bit of delay, but for a device cobbled together from 9 different pieces of equipment it’s still an impressive feat.

While translation programs already work pretty well for many of the world’s major languages, moving the display from your phone or computer to hovering in front of your eyes could be an important step in connecting the world; allowing you to both understand an alternate language while simultaneously catching the just-as-important cues of body language and hand gestures.

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About Colin Schultz
Colin Schultz

Colin Schultz is a freelance science writer and editor based in Toronto, Canada. He blogs for Smart News and contributes to the American Geophysical Union. He has a B.Sc. in physical science and philosophy, and a M.A. in journalism.

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