Waverly Labs, a New York City company, hopes to create a world without language barriers through Pilot, the first smart earpiece language translator. Language barriers in healthcare lead to poor patient satisfaction and reduced health outcomes. Healthcare providers and patients experience frustrations on a daily basis with how to communicate more effectively. Pilot may have the ability to change that forever.
Waverly Labs plans to release a mobile application and earpiece in May 2017. You can pre-order the product for $199 through their Indiegogo campaign, that has already raised over $3.5M, and the technology is expected to launch at $299 (although this could change). At first, they will launch with English, Spanish, French, Italian, and Portuguese translations with plans to expand their offering over time.
The idea of a mobile application that facilitates even conversational translation is not novel. Google (Android/iOS) and Microsoft (Android/iOS) have had these offerings for years. In fact, these engines may actually power Pilot, however, the promise of linking these technologies to the convenience of a wearable may be just enough for us to use it everyday.
We had the chance to interview Andrew Ochoa, CEO of Waverly Labs, and here is what he had to say:
William Kethman, Medgadget: What inspired you to create Pilot?
Andrew Ochoa, Waverly Labs: We were inspired by wearable technology and wanted to solve a global challenge. Back then we were a small team, but we came from different backgrounds and spoke different languages, and that’s how we realized that language barriers would be the greatest problem we could solve.
Medgadget: Language barriers persist well beyond casual conversation – how do you think this technology may transform healthcare?
Ochoa: There are numerous applications, and we have a lot of interest from companies in the travel, hospitality, and international business sectors. What’s also inspiring is when we hear from primary care providers who tell us about the multiple patients they encounter daily, and how Pilot will help them provide a whole new level of patient care in their relationships.
Medgadget: What limitations may exist in early versions of the technology that may prevent its use in the clinical setting?
Ochoa: Pilot is designed for conversation translation, whereas medical terminology can be very complex. This requires the machine translation engine to be “trained” specifically for the domain of healthcare – however in general, the more people use it, the better it gets.
Medgadget: What is the future of Waverly Labs – are you planning other products or introducing other technologies that enable communication?
Ochoa: Currently we’re focused on creating the most robust conversation translation system with Pilot. In the future we plan to explore new technologies which align with our company’s vision, “to build devices which solve global challenges.”
We look forward to watching Andrew and his team deliver on their vision.
More info: Pilot…