Handheld talking translator on market in 2008

Handheld talking translator on market in 2008

HP scanning technology used in device developed by Korean firm

A Korean company is using technology licensed from HP to develop a handheld translator that can read printed text in foreign languages, HP has announced.

“The technology has potential applications as, for example, a reading aid for the blind and visually impaired, a translation tool for tourists traveling in foreign countries and an educational aid for those learning to speak another language,” the two companies said in a joint statement.

Korean developer Mouscan is working on a handheld device, dubbed Voiscan, that it expects to be commercially available worldwide by the end of 2008. Mouscan will pay royalties to HP for each device sold.

“This pioneering handheld scanning technology developed by HP allows us to bring to market a unique device that facilitates communication from text to audio anywhere, anytime and in any language”, said Yang Yu, chief executive officer of Mouscan, which he founded in 2002 to develop translation devices.

Voiscan relies on a scanning technology invented by HP Labs. The handheld device is dragged across foreign language text, recognizes words, and translates them. Text-to-speech software developed by Mouscan is used to convert the translated text into spoken words instantly. As the scanning area is relatively narrow, the device can also automatically stitch together multiple scans to form a complete image of a page before translating the text.

“HP welcomes partnerships with start-ups like Mouscan to help them find capital while giving new life to technology developed in HP Labs,” said Joe Beyers, vice president, Intellectual Property Licensing, HP. “Our IP licensing program is one way HP can help make useful technologies such as Voiscan widely available.”

Mouscan will pay royalties to HP for each device sold.