It sounds a bit Google-ey, what with all the data mining across the Web and all that, but it’s Microsoft researchers in Beijing that are crafting an online Chinese-to-English dictionary that could become a model for language learning tools bridging any two tongues. Engkoo.com pulls its database from the Web itself, cross-referencing sites that exist in both English and Chinese, searching existing online dictionaries, and mining other sources to create a rich resource for both learning and translation.
Researchers at Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands are working on a spoken language for robots, built with both human brains and robot simplicity in mind. ROILA, or Robot Interaction Language, is intended to be easy for people to learn and easy for robots to understand.
Google's vision for a better world involves removing those pesky language barriers that keep people apart, and so the Internet search giant has begun development on a voice recognition and automatic translation system for cell phones. Such technology could either herald a new era of fruitful international collaboration or usher in new grievances and conflicts, depending on your viewpoint.
Since its inception, the World Wide Web has been dominated by English. Even websites that use a different language still use the Latin-character "www" format, with a URL spelled out with the English alphabet. Well, that domination will soon come to an end, as Icann, the committee that regulates the Internet, has begun finalizing steps towards approving web addresses in non-Latin characters.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.