If you've ever been abroad and wanted to converse with the locals better than your school-grade language skills could provide, a new sci-fi earpiece that translates foreign language in real-time should be the first thing in your suitcase.
The WT2 headset from TimeKettle, which looks like a Bluetooth earpiece, could eliminate cases of lost in translation as it claims it can allow two people speaking completely different languages to freely chat.
As the website states: "I speak in Chinese, then you hear in English. You speak in English, I hear you in Chinese."
It works by two people both wearing an earpiece, which are connected to a smartphone. The earpiece listens to what one person says, it's then sent to the phone where it is translated via an app then delivered to the ear of the other person.
The whole process takes around three seconds and can currently only translate Mandarin Chinese to English, but the company aims to add more languages and speed up the translation time to just one second.
Currently the futuristic device, which acts like a real-life Babel Fish from the sci-fi Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, is only a prototype – although the hardware is in its final stages. Tech Crunch was given a demonstration of the WT2 and said "it worked quite well, as long as you keep your translation expectations realistic — complex speech and idiom don't survive quick machine translation, but you can still get a lot across."
TimeKettle has said that it will be launching a Kickstarter campaign next month in the hope to raise funds to get the product over the line and out to market, however a final price is still yet to be decided.
The WT2, when or if it ever does come to market, will likely face some competition as similar projects are underway. One project called Pilot from Waverly Labs works in the same way with two people wearing earpieces to converse. It claimed it would launch in Q3 2017 priced at £205 ($249) and will support English, French, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese.