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The company behind ‘the worst product ever made’ is back with a high-tech translator necklace

logbar ili pendant necklace
logbar ili pendant necklace

Matt Weinberger/Business Insider

The iLi translator pendant.

As any true Star Trek fan will tell you, there’s a very good reason that every alien species in the galaxy speaks English — each Starfleet officer’s chest-worn communicator badge is also a universal translator.

That’s kind of what “iLi,” from Japanese startup Logbar, is going for. 

The ability to have an intelligible conversation with someone who speaks a different language has long been a holy grail for tech’s biggest companies. 

Titans like Microsoft and Google have made this kind of real-time translation a major priority with apps like Skype Translate and Google Translate

Logbar and its iLi don’t have that kind of pedigree. In fact, Logbar’s previous high-profile invention, its namesake ring motion controller, was called “the worst product ever made” by angry Kickstarter backers upset that the company raised $1 million for such a lackluster invention. 

The iLi is a pendant you wear around your neck that automatically translates between Japanese, Chinese, and English.

Unlike a smartphone app or similar, it’s supposed to be something you always have switched on while you’re traveling. It’ll even work while offline, a Logbar spokesperson promises. 

For that reason, perhaps, Logbar has backed away from using its own name in a lot of iLi marketing. Indeed, the name “Logbar” doesn’t appear on the iLi website



The original Logbar ring, which raised over $1 million on Kickstarter but got panned by critics.

It looks a little bit like an old-school iPod shuffle, and has speakers that are supposed to be loud enough to be heard in a normal conversation. 

In a short, prepared demo though, the iLi seemed to work okay — though not speaking Japanese myself, it’s hard to gauge its accuracy or nuance. 

Still! Whether or not the iLi is a device that delivers, it’s still pretty darn cool that we’re at a point in technology where a portable universal translator is just around the bend.

It’s just another sign that our science-fictional future is getting closer every day. 

NOW WATCH: George Takei just watched the new ‘Star Trek’ trailer for the first time and here’s what he said

The post The company behind ‘the worst product ever made’ is back with a high-tech translator necklace appeared first on Business Insider.

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