Docomo unveils instant translator glasses in Japan

Docomo unveils instant translator glasses in Japan

Summary: In an answer to Google Glass, the telco is developing augmented reality glasses enabled with character recognition technology to translate signs and menus, expected to be ready in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

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Japanese telco NTT Docomo has unveiled augmented reality glasses that translates a menu in real time, that's set to be ready in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

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An NTT Docomo engineer demonstrating the glasses. (credit: AFP)

The device overlays the wearer's first language on to unfamiliar text, instantly translating them, according to AFP on Tuesday.  The glasses were introduced at the Combined Exhibition of Advanced Technologies (CEATEC) fair in Japan.

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A Japanese menu being translated into English via the glasses. (credit: AFP)

"Character recognition technology enables instant language translation for users travelling abroad and reading restaurant menus and other documents," said Docomo in the report. This will be especially helpful for travelers as foreign language menus are not commonly found in non-tourist areas in Japan.

The glasses can also turn any flat surface into a touchscreen. A finger ring relays positioning information to the device, allowing wearers to "touch" tags or perform an Internet search--a concept similar to that seen in movies such as Minority Report.

Another application involves facial recognition where the user can look up somone's identity, and other details such as job titles, from his or her smartphone directory.

Docomo's unveiling of the device comes more than half a year after the introduction of Google Glass by the Internet giant amid intensifying interest in wearable technology. Google Glass currently translates via voice, but has yet to marry Google Translate to its device.

Topics: Emerging Tech, Hardware, Telcos, Japan

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Loves caption contests, leisurely strolls along supermarket aisles and watching How It's Made. Ryan has covered finance, politics, tech and sports for TV, radio and print. He is also co-author of best seller "Profit from the Panic". Ryan is an editor at ZDNet's Asia/Singapore office.

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