Japan’s wearable startup LogBar unveils ‘ili’ translator pendant at CES 2016



See the original story in Japanese.

The creator of the Ring wearable device, Silicon Valley- / Tokyo-based startup LogBar, has just unveiled a new product called ‘iLi‘ at CES 2016 in Las Vegas. The iLi is a pendant worn around the neck that will translate between English, Japanese, and Chinese. Thanks to a built-in engine for speech recognition/synthesis and translation, Wi-Fi or other Internet connections are not needed to use iLi.

The device has a button on its surface, which looks like the fingerprint sensor design on the iPhone. Users have to push it before speaking so that the device can recognize their speech and synthesize its translated result. The product price has not been announced, but it is said to be “affordable” as it opens up for pre-orders in March or April. The second version of iLi will handle French, Thai, and Korean, and the third version will add Spanish, Italian, and Arabic options. In addition to product sales, LogBar is exploring establishing a business network leveraging the device as a business model. The company may partner with travel agencies, hotels, transport operators, and car rental services, which cater to tourists and business travelers.

Since the device specs have yet to be unveiled, it is uncertain whether or not the device is technically possible, or just vaporware. However, this is definitely the thing that turns ‘Honyaku Konyaku’ or translation jelly, a popular Sci-Fi gadget seen in the Doraemon Japanese comic series, into a reality. Following Jeplan which has recently developed the real De Lorean dream car from the Back to the Future movie, we are looking forward to the success of a Japanese startup attempting to turn Sci-Fi gadgets into a reality.

Edited by Kurt Hanson