Siri’s ability to speak and recognize various languages is impressive, but Microsoft is not to be outdone. Microsoft Research labs has demoed a new prototype software that could be the next big step toward a so-called “universal translator” device, one that can instantly flip one language into another and back again so a conversation can be carried on between two people even when neither can understand the other’s language.
Google Translate, the amazing app that takes speech or text and outputs into any of over 50 languages (including Icelandic, Haitian Creole, and Maltese), is finally available on the iPhone. You can type or speak in any of 15 languages, and hear your translations spoken out loud in any of 23, which is really impressive.
Don't know your Schweineschnitzel (steak) from your Schweinemagen (pig's stomach)? IBM's menu and street-sign translator may prevent a culinary catastrophe. The prototype is a PDA with a clip-on camera. Pictures are sent wirelessly to an IBM server, characters identified, and text sent back. Not the best way to read Molire, but it does translate the basics with few errors. The device could be available in two years.
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.