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Handhelds Hardware

PDA Speech Translator 161

jlowery writes "Not quite as good as a babelfish, but a PDA that does translation is probably better than resorting to hand gestures alone. I could see this as a boon to the tourist who travels to places where English speakers are uncommon."
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PDA Speech Translator

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  • by shuz ( 706678 ) on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @06:27PM (#7839886) Homepage Journal
    Technology is at a point where all the software has been written to create a translator where a person speaks into a microphone which then is translated into text which is then translated into a different language which is then played back verbally in the same persons voice in a different language. The problem is that this cannot be done in realtime. 4 years ago I worked on a project for At&t to create an application that would train a users voice, break down thier voice patterns and be able to rearange those patterns to create other sounds which sound like they are coming from that real person. The problem is that with current processors the time to train and process is about 10 hours. So we can do voice recognition in realtime, we can translate text words in realtime, and in 10 hours we can reproduce a persons voice nearly flawlessly. Think of the possiblities!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @06:28PM (#7839890)
    ***I have seen the same problems with automated phone systems that are supposed to recognize a generic voice and I can see the same thing happening here.***

    Yeah I see it all the time, we who have a SLIGHT southern twang in out accents give those voice command systems fits.

  • Just wait ten years (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mschuyler ( 197441 ) on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @06:42PM (#7840041) Homepage Journal
    I believe PDAs are going to be tremendously transformed over the next few years.

    1. Convergence is going to happen with a vengance. The Treo 600 is just the start. More and more apps will make it to the PDA. Speech recognition is one, and that sets up for another dybamic...

    PDAs don't really need screens and keyboards if you can talk to them and they can talk to you. If they don't need those components, they can get a whole lot smaller. The next generation PDAs will be like a hearing aid, and the ones after that will be built into your glasses or an implant. That means less power, so less battery. Besides, it will be able to run on your body heat if not tap into your own body's electrical system, so it won't need a battery. Every improvemnt along these lines dwindles the size even more. A heads-up display, made transparent or opaque, ought to handle those times when you need to really observe rather than consult.

    A combination of AI and connectivity will mean your PDA is your first line of defense in many of life's situations. Get pulled over by a cop and it will tell you what to do, what NOT to do, and contact your lawyer. Need a cop and it will call them and know just how long it's going to take to get there.

    Medicine: It will have a complete medical history of you, remind you to take your meds, and monitor your blood pressure and other vita signs. If you have a heart attack it will call 911 with your location and be the first thing the medics consult when they get to you.

    Personality: You'll be able to choose its level of humor and sarcasm. Although clearly a machine, people will develop meaningful relationships with them, at least they'll think so.

    Connectivity: Everything you can think of, including your own house, which you'll call up to turn the heat up since you're coming home early. All teh Wi-Fi/cell connectivity you want will be built in.

    Finances: It will know everything you do and provide access to your dough. If you get overdrawn it will be intentional because it will have real time access. It will have all the ATM/debit/credit stuff all on-hand. It will also be able to shop for you and tell you where the best deal is.

    It will know all your friends and business associates and help remind you, "This is Joe. He's a Cougar. He knows you're a Husky, but don't rub it in. His kid just joined the Navy. He thinks LOTR sucks, and Rush is Right, so be careful. He drinks Guiness. His budget is 250K and he's looking to upgrade the Ciscos."

    You'd never think of leaving home without this. Indeed, since it very well may be built-in, you won't have to worry about it. Just keep up the subscription.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @06:53PM (#7840138)
    So we can do voice recognition in realtime, we can translate text words in realtime, and in 10 hours we can reproduce a persons voice nearly flawlessly. Think of the possiblities!

    Yeah, I bet John Ashcroft is creaming his jeans... just think, if your wiretaps don't pick up anything incriminating, you can still use them to *make* someone say something incriminating.
  • by Moderation abuser ( 184013 ) on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @07:28PM (#7840465)
    So all you need is a mobile phone. You phone up the number for the language you need translated to, tell the translator what you want to say and hand the phone over to the person you want to talk to. Quite expensive per minute, but cheaper than a PDA and very very handy in an emergency.

    Course, you could learn another language, it isn't remotely as difficult as school makes it out to be. English is one of the more difficult languages to learn. If you learn, one of Italian, French, Spanish, Portugese you should be able to pick the others up fairly quickly. English is based on a Germanic language with a lot of the French and Roman influences chucked in on top, it's a real mishmash.

To do two things at once is to do neither. -- Publilius Syrus