Augmented reality glasses promise instant translation

Technology Trends & Culture - October 2nd, 2013
smart glasses

A new range of smart glasses may be getting Google’s attention and making it easier to read street signs and menus while you are traveling.

Japan’s NTT Docomo recently unveiled a range of smart glasses, including spectacles that can translate foreign languages. The augmented reality glasses uses a translation software which allows users to translate unfamiliar text in documents such as menus, letters, and even signboards into their native language.

Engineers from the telecom giant showed demonstrations of the next-generation glasses at CEATAC 2013, a gadget fair in Makuhari that is on until October 5.

“Character recognition technology enables instant language translation for users traveling abroad and reading restaurant menus and other documents,” Docomo said in a statement.

The invention may be particularly useful for travelers in Japan, where foreign-language menus and signs are not commonly found off the tourist trail.

In addition, it could be helpful for the thousands of tourists who expected to arrive for the 2020 Tokyo Games, perhaps even more so than street signs being translated into six languages.

Docomo also introduced other smart glass concepts, such as glasses that allow wearers to watch videos that are being played on their smart phones without having to hold the handset.

Another concept is a “portable address book” with facial recognition that is intended to look up someone’s identity and job title—from a smartphone’s directory.

Google has introduced its much-anticipated smart glasses this year. Google Glass enables users to take photos, record videos and read messages as well as accessing the web.

Some of the other glimpses into the future of electronics on display at CEATAC include next-next-generation 8K televisions and Segway-sized personal transportation.

By Maesie Bertumen

Image of Google glasses: tedeytan/Flickr