It sounds highly implausible, but NEC says it has created a pair of specs that can listen to a foreign language and beam a translation directly into the wearer’s eyes.
The TeleScouter is based around a combination of voice recognition software and a machine-translation application. A microphone and camera pick up the foreign speech, which is relayed to a small, wearable computer and then on to a remote server.
The server provides a translation, which is then sent back and beamed onto the retina “using the afterimage effect”, says the company. The text appears as subtitles, so that the wearer can still see the person they’re speaking to.
NEC says it will launch the device next year. The translation facilities are apparently still fairly rudimentary, so at first it will be marketed as a hands-free data display, to let engineers read manuals and the like. Full translation facilities should come a year later.