|by Jason Steele|
My wife speaks four languages. I only speak English. Every time I am with her and I hear a language that I don’t understand, I instinctively nudge her and ask her to translate it for me. It turns out that the four languages that she does speak are only a small fraction of the hundreds of languages spoken throughout the world. Even a skilled linguist like her is powerless to read over 99% of the languages in the world. But not for long.
Today is the day when the world first saw an iPhone application called Word Lens. Simply put, this application is the first of its kind that will change not only how we travel, but how humans interact with each other throughout the world. Check out this demonstration video:
It appears as if this application is only available at this time for the iPhone and in Spanish, but it is easy to imagine it’s development on different platforms and with different languages. Next, imagine viewing your iPhone output through a pair of video glasses with cameras.
We are about to enter a world where a traveler can open a menu in any language, put on his or her translating glasses, and effortlessly order food, or at least point to it. Imagine walking down a street in India, and having every sign translated from Hindi to English as you see it! Imagine sitting on park bench in Moscow, reading a newspaper in Russian.
The technology is there, and we will wait for it to be integrated and the price to come down. Remember that computers, cell phones, and even digital watches were once exotic, high priced gadgets. These devices are now commonly available and affordable in industrialized countries. It is only a matter of time until this technology is incorporated into a pair of glasses and is no more expensive than a nice calculator.
Every so often we are privileged to witness the birth of a technology that will revolutionize our world. Today is one of those days.