Advances in speech recognition and computer translation have made it possible to use apps like Skype or Google Translate to hold real-time conversations with someone who speaks a different language.
But Fujitsu is taking things a step further with the introduction of a wearable device that lets you converse without pressing any buttons. It’s designed for use in hospitals or other locations where workers may need to communicate across language barriers.
The company plans to begin clinical trials at healthcare institutions in Japan starting in November.
The device uses a directional microphone to help pick up your voice and the person you’re talking to. And it can detect languages automatically, allowing the device to switch between languages automatically with no user intervention.
Fujitsu says the device has 95 percent accuracy when it comes to detecting speech in a relatively noisy environment like a hospital exam room.
So far, the system supports Japanese, English, and Chinese but there are plans to add more languages in the future.
If trials go well, Fujitsu hopes to launch a commercial version of its wearable translation device in 2018.