A lot of our recent blog posts have been focused on tech trends set to transform the insight industry. Every day, brands are finding innovative ways to engage customers and promote sales. And guess what? We recently identified a new emerging tech trend, augmented hearing, that we think you’ll love!

Smart language translating earpiece

FreshMinds’ Annalisa Addison, Head of People and Culture, walked into the office donning her very own augmented hearing gadget, which inspired us to dig deeper. We asked Annalisa why she purchased the Pilot in the first place. She explained,

“I enjoy investing in new innovative products and try to back at least one project a year! I choose to back the pilot because it spoke to me as a child of a generation where hoverboards and babel fish represent the future

…I unfortunately do not speak any other languages and it’s exciting to have a technology that can bridge language barriers. Since we do a lot of global insight projects, I thought the Pilot might benefit FreshMinds and the way we work in the future.”

Developed by New York start-up WaverlyLabs, the world’s first smart Pilot Earpiece allows wearers to speak different languages to each other, but still clearly understand one another.

How? The Pilot has noise-cancelling microphones that filter out ambient noise. Each user must download the Pilot App, which uses speech recognition, machine translation and speech synthesis to translate what is spoken.

When FreshMinds’ Annalisa speaks French into the sophisticated microphone, “bonjour, comment ça va?” the pilot earpiece then plays the newly translated speech to the other person in the specified language. For instance, it’s “hello, how are you?” in English. A multitude of additional languages are available, including Arabic, Greek, Mandarin Chinese, German, Portuguese, Spanish and many more.

Mashable.com states that the Pilot is “the gadget straight out of science fiction has come to life” and Forbes.com explains “the WaverlyLab’s Pilot is as close as I’ve seen to the Universal Translator I was promised by Star Trek when I was a kid”.

A world without language barriers?

Communicating with those who don’t speak our native language remains a challenge for people across the globe. In a census conducted by the Office for National Statistics, it is estimated that more than 95% of the British population are monolingual English speakers. Whether you’re traveling, in a business meeting or just need some last-minute help, the Pilot makes language barriers a problem of the past.

What’s more exciting? In the insight industry, we often conduct research in various markets, and we don’t always speak the same language as everyone else! A gadget like the pilot could help us translate, meaning that the same interviewer could conduct research in multiple markets without needing to speak the native language. This would bring consistency at the point of analysis.

According to Ericsson Consumer’s Lab’s annual trend report, 63% of consumers surveyed said they “would like earphones that translate languages in real time.” This comes as no surprise; the Pilot received over 5mill USD in pre-orders before its release in May of 2017. Competitors are quickly jumping onboard following the Pilot’s suit, including Google’s Pixel earbuds and Mymanu Clik’s earbuds.

It’s fascinating to see how augmented hearing technology continues to develop and increase in functionality – we can’t wait to see what’s in store!

PS: See how much fun Annalisa’s having? Thanks for reading!

Interested in learning about additional tech trends? Download FreshMinds’ latest report: Tech Trends Set To Transform The Insight Industry.