Feeds

Japanese deploy bi-lingual talking PDA

Domo origato, me old china

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Visitor's to Tokyo's Narita airport can avail themselves of a bi-lingual PDA which translates between English and Japanese.

The "e-Navi" contains 50,000 Japanese and 25,000 English words and is reckoned to be able to cope with slang. Punters just speak into the device, and are given an almost instant translation.

NEC is behind the technology, which uses voice recognition, digital voice translation and a voice synthesiser to deliver the required speech.

Chris Shimizu, NEC's corporate relations manager, says that the system has tackled some of the more slippery problems of voice recognition. For one, it can apparently handle accents. What's more, "it doesn't require a user to pre-register their voice". Shimizu said that the technology would "absolutely ideal" for mobile phones, since it is virtually instantaneous.

Almost inevitably - this being Japan and all - the "e-Navi" translator began life as one component of the Papero - a talking robotic "personal companion". Sadly, the little cyberpal wasn't asked to provide a suitably user-friendly and colloquial English name for itself, since Papero is short for the decidedly non-fluffy "Partner-Type Personal Robot".

It will be interesting to see if the e-Navi really has picked the bugs out of voice recognition, or whether hapless travellers will be wandering around Narita's concourse shouting "my hovercraft is full of eels" at terrified locals. ®

Related Products
Check out the Pocket PC department of The Reg mobile store

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins
Exit Planet Dust on faster-than-light expansion of universe
Mine Bitcoins with PENCIL and PAPER
Forget Sudoku, crunch SHA-256 algos
SpaceX Dragon cargo truck flies 3D printer to ISS: Clawdown in 3, 2...
Craft berths at space station with supplies, experiments, toys
'This BITE MARK is a SMOKING GUN': Boffins probe ancient assault
Tooth embedded in thigh bone may tell who pulled the trigger
DOLPHINS SMELL MAGNETS – did we hear that right, boffins?
Xavier's School for Gifted Magnetotaceans
Big dinosaur wowed females with its ENORMOUS HOOTER
That's right, Doris, I've got biggest snout in the prehistoric world
Japanese volcano eruption reportedly leaves 31 people presumed dead
Hopes fade of finding survivors on Mount Ontake
That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN
One MEELLION years older. Some of it anyway
Canberra drone team dances a samba in Outback Challenge
CSIRO's 'missing bushwalker' found and watered
NASA rover Curiosity drills HOLE in MARS 'GOLF COURSE'
Joins 'traffic light' and perfect stony sphere on the Red Planet
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.