Technology has always shaped the ways we communicate. The printing press changed the way we exchanged and shared 600 years ago. Today, it is the internet that makes it incredibly easy for people to connect and communicate with one another. In the nearby future (read: right now), artificial intelligence will allow robot journalism and simultaneous translation between languages - which makes you wonder if learning a new language might become completely obsolete. Language exchange, AI-powered translation and body language, what's the latest buzz in Lingo Land?
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Do you want to learn a new language, meet new people and mingle with local culture? Then you might want to check out ananas, the soon to be launched language exchange app. From digital to analogue conversations: ananas encourages its users to meet face-to-face in the same geo-location. The app gives you the opportunity to find a language buddy, but also to earn money with your knowledge by becoming a PRO. With ananas, Gezi Fu – who used to live in North- and South America, Asia and now Europe – and Rolf Coppens – part of digital creative agency Grrr and head of design for ananas – want to create a global community, where language and culture are no longer barriers. How will ananas revolutionise the way we learn a new language?
Travis the Translator
Imagine that you could go anywhere in the world, and could speak to anyone… With Travis, you can! Lennart van der Ziel and Brent Kouwenhoven, two of Travis’ co-founders, strive to bridge barriers of language, spark connections and create understanding through intelligent technology. In a globalising world, this new wave of translation intelligently combines software and purpose-designed hardware to make sure we can all have a chat by translating speech to speech in 80 languages, all in less than two seconds. After a successful crowdfunding campaign – they raised $1,356,987 USD! – their first generation Travis device was released last month. If this is just the starting point, what could the future of translation look like?
The Emotion Whisperer
Body language and emotion are essential for a conversation between people. But what if you are not able to see them? Almost 7 years ago, sound and sense designer Simon Dogger lost his sight. Despite an intense period which put his life on hold, it never stopped him from graduating from Design Academy Eindhoven this year. To find a solution for a problem affecting his own life, he designed the Emotion Whisperer: a device that turns visual signals, like a raised eyebrow, into vibration. A small camera aimed at your conversation partner sends an image to an emotion recognition app on your phone. The audiovisual material will be analysed and translated into a sensory signal and the emotions are felt by specific vibration. Not only helpful when you are visually impaired, it can also add emotional feedback to digital conversations – you can literally feel someone smiling!