Most eyewear improves vision or cuts through solar glare, but a new gadget from Japan may soon sharpen linguistic skills and cut down language barriers instead, inventors said Thursday.

High-tech company NEC has come up with a device that it says will allow users to communicate with people of different languages.

Shaped like a pair of eye-glasses, but without the lenses, the computer-assisted Tele Scouter would use an imaging device to project almost real-time translations directly onto the user's retina.

The text -- provided instantly through voice recognition and translation programmes -- would effectively provide movie-like 'subtitles' during a conversation between two people wearing the glasses.

"You can keep the conversation flowing," NEC market development official Takayuki Omino told reporters at a Tokyo exposition where the device was on display.

"This could also be used for talks involving confidential information," negating the need for a human translator, said Omino.

Each user's spoken words would be picked up by a microphone, translated, and be instantly available for the counterpart in both visual text and as audio delivered through headphones.

Users can still see their conversation partner's face because the text is projected onto only part of the retina -- the first time such technology is used in a commercial product, according to NEC.

The company plans to launch the Tele Scouter in Japan in November next year, although initially without the translation mode



这款需在计算机的辅助下工作的“Tele Scouter”外形像一幅眼镜,但没有镜片,需使用一种成像设备,将几乎是实时翻译出来的文字投射到使用者的视网膜(显示屏)上。






该公司计划于明年十一月将Tele Scouter投放市场,不过最初的产品将不具备翻译功能。