Tele Scouter sends translations right to your retina

We could really use a translator to help make sense of the English on NEC's product page, but we get that a head-mounted display with a mic attached picks up a conversation and routes it through a remote server to produce a translation.

Leslie Katz Former Culture Editor
Leslie Katz led a team that explored the intersection of tech and culture, plus all manner of awe-inspiring science, from space to AI and archaeology. When she's not smithing words, she's probably playing online word games, tending to her garden or referring to herself in the third person.
  • Third place film critic, 2021 LA Press Club National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards
Leslie Katz
2 min read

If Japan-based NEC has its way, people who act as language translators could one day be replaced with head-mounted displays that project translations onto a retinal display. Come again?

Tele Scouter

The Tele Scouter system is composed of an eyepiece with a front-mounted camera and a mic that picks up conversations and sends the data to a small computer worn on the user's waist.

The computer then transmits information to a remote server, which does the heavy processing work converting the foreign speech to text, translating it, and wirelessly sending it back to the tiny eye display for viewing. That seems like a whole lot of work to get to, "He said, 'Welcome to my country!'" but we'll roll with the idea for now.

Truth is we could use a translator to help us make complete sense of the English on NEC's product page, but we do know the TeleScouter isn't ready to show up at the U.N. just yet (or maybe ever).

Instead, NEC initially plans to market the device as a wearable hands-free display that could be used to show engineers and on-site and off-site technicians high-resolution user guides and manuals while they install or repair equipment.

In another workplace use, it could let a single expert simultaneously deliver text, video, and audio messages to multiple personnel--in real time.

NEC says it expects to start shipping the Tele Scouter next year, with a system that could serve a staff of 30 costing around 750 million yen ($8.16 million). Despite such exorbitant pricing, the company is aiming to sell 1,000 systems in three years.

How do you say, "We're intrigued, but we'll believe all this when we see it" in Japanese?

Tele Scouter

(Via Gizmag)