This Google Glass app captions conversations in real time

An incredibly tool for the hearing-impaired

Google Glass

For most Google Glass explorers, the wearable is a fun novelty that at best gives them an icebreaker and bragging rights.

But researchers at the George Institute of Technology have developed an app that could make Glass an incredible tool for the hearing-impaired.

Google Glass's microphone normally can't pick up on sounds from too far away, including the speech of people around you, but the Captioning on Glass app circumvents that limitation by the speaker talk into a paired smartphone's microphone.

That speech is then converted to text and transmitted to the Google Glass display in near real time.

Clarity

The app was conceived by George Institute of Technology School of Interactive Computing Professor Jim Foley. The video below shows it in action.

"This system allows wearers like me to focus on the speaker's lips and facial gestures," Professor Foley told CNET. "If hard-of-hearing people understand the speech, the conversation can continue immediately without waiting for the caption. However, if I miss a word, I can glance at the transcription, get the word or two I need and get back into the conversation."

The paired smartphone has the dual benefit of being much more reliable at detecting others' speech than Google Glass's microphone and also forcing participants to think more carefully about the clarity of their words, project leader Professor Thad Starner added.

And if you're thinking that the next logical step is to have the app translate users' speech between languages, then there's good news for you: they're working on that as well, and they plan to release a combination translation and transcription app in the near future, according to the site.

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