This earpiece could be the universal translator of the future

An earpiece could do away with the language barrier

Gone could be the days of fiddling through phrase books and awkwardly recalling your middle school Spanish lessons, thanks to an earpiece that lets allows two people to understand each other without the need for a common language.

The Pilot, a wearable produced by Waverly Labs, is inserted in the ear like a hearing aid and then synced to an app. The device then takes in the speech of the other user and translates it instantly, resulting in the recipient hearing the original phrase in their native language.

While understanding other languages in a snap is a game changer for travelers and international professionals worldwide, the Pilot does come with a few caveats that keep it from true Babel Fish or Universal Translator status.

For starters, the device appears to only work between folks equipped with it. This isn't a problem for one-on-one chats, since the earpieces are sold as a pair, but you might want to hold off for a bit if you plan on just popping one in your ear and boarding a plane to a foreign country.

Secondly, the things aren't cheap. The Pilot is set to release next week to the tune of $250 (£174), though early adopters can get in on the action for nearly half off by preordering on the company's webpage.

While the mobility of the Pilot is undeniably cool, instant translation is quickly becoming commonplace. Skype has had its own on-the-fly translation software since October, Google Translate can interpret text and voices across 37 languages, and Microsoft's voice translation mobile app ramps that number to 50.

Still, should the second generation of the Pilot work without being tethered to a second earpiece, count us in - we've got some international traveling left to do on our bucket list and and are too lazy to take French classes.

  • Even Cortana is getting in on translation tech
Parker Wilhelm
Parker Wilhelm is a freelance writer for TechRadar. He likes to tinker in Photoshop and talk people's ears off about Persona 4.