This In-Ear Language Translator Is Straight Out Of ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide’ And It’s Got People Excited

The Babel Fish of Douglas Adams’ dreams may soon be a reality. A company called Waverly Labs is looking to bring a real-time, in-ear language translator to market in September.

It’s going to be called The Pilot and pre-orders start at $129. By the time it hits shelves, Waverly Labs expects it to retail for somewhere between $249 and $299. Excited fans are being asked to get on a waitlist for the translator’s launch, and there’s more than a few of them scattered across the Internet.

Waverly Labs CEO Andrew Ochoa said he was inspired to make his translator when he met a French girl and couldn’t communicate with her. Fittingly, the translator will only handle a few Romance languages (French, Spanish, Italian) and English upon launching. However, Waverly Labs says they plan to expand the system’s vocabulary with premium language packs for East Indian, Asian, Semitic, Slavic and African languages.

The in-ear translator will initially work via two earpieces. Both people need to wear one for the translator to work. Users toggle through languages using a smartphone app. The company says it’s working on figuring out how to make a translator that grabs speech from the environment, but they aren’t there yet.

As with all things this seemingly futuristic, Waverly Labs claims should be taken with a healthy dose of skepticism. Their website is pretty rudimentary for a company creating something so high-tech. And one Forbes reporter spoke with Ochoa and came away thinking that the whole thing might be a sham.