Will Google's Project Glass Make Foreign Language Classes Obsolete?

An app by a U.K. computer programmer translates real-time conversations.


Last month Google made headlines—and bred a brand new set of dystopian conspiracy theories—with their epic demonstration of Project Glass, a pair of augmented reality glasses. Will Powell, a U.K.-based computer programmer, has been so inspired by Project Glass that he's developed his own pair of prototype glasses and keeps himself busy creating applications for them. His latest? An app that translates real-time conversations and displays them as subtitles in your glasses.

Powell writes on his blog that although he doesn't know any Spanish, the app allows him and his sister "to have a conversation when I speak English and she speaks Spanish." The duo demonstrates the conversation in the video above and the subtitles you see on the screen are what Powell sees through his glasses.

Although they're speaking more slowly than people do in real life, it's not hard to imagine the Star Trek-style possibilities. Could this kind of technology allow people across the globe to communicate with each other—all without having to spend hours in foreign language classes? Given that Powell says the app can already "translate between 37 different languages" it could happen within our lifetimes.


McDonalds sells a lot of coffee. Over a billion cups a year, to be exact. All that coffee leads to a lot of productive mornings, but it also leads to a lot of waste. Each year, millions of pounds of coffee chaff (the skin of the coffee beans that comes off during roasting) ends up getting turned into mulch. Some coffee chaff just gets burned, leading to an increase in CO2.

Now, that chaff is going to get turned into car parts. Ford is incorporating coffee chaff from McDonalds coffee into the headlamps of some cars. Ford has been using plastic and talc to make its headlamps, but this new process will reduce the reliance on talc, a non-renewable mineral. The chaff is heated to high temperatures under low oxygen and mixed with plastic and other additives. The bioplastic can then be formed into shapes.

Keep Reading Show less

For over 20 years, our country has perceived itself as more divided than united, and it's not getting better. Right after the 2016 election, a poll conducted by Gallup found that 77% of Americans felt the country was divided on the most important values, a record high.

The percentage of Americans who agree that we disagree got higher. During the 2018 mid-term elections, a poll conducted by NBC News/Wall Street Journal found that 80% of Americans felt the nation was "mainly" or "totally" divided.

We head into the 2020 presidential election more divided than ever. A new poll from USA Today found that nine out of ten respondents felt it was important to do something about the conflict in our country. We can't keep on living like this forever.

Keep Reading Show less
via Honor Africans / Twitter

The problem with American Sign Language (ASL) is that over 500,000 people in the U.S. use it, but the country has over 330 million people.

So for those with hearing loss, the chances of coming into contact with someone who uses the language are rare. Especially outside of the deaf community.

Keep Reading Show less