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.