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Handheld SIGMO offers real-time language translation for 25 languages

Already exploding through a $15,000 funding goal on Indiegogo, the SIGMO is a small device that’s been designed to bridge the language gap when traveling abroad in other countries. After setting the native language and the predominant language of the country being visited, users simply hit one button before starting to speak in their native language into the microphone on the SIGMO. The SIGMO listens to the phrase, then plays the translation through the speaker on the device. A second button on the device triggers the device to listen for a response in the foreign language, then translates that back into the native language. 

Languages available for translation through the SIGMO include four dialects of English, three dialects of Spanish, two dialects of French and two dialects of Portuguese as well as Arabic, Bulgarian, Cantonese, Catalan, Chinese, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finish, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Mandarin, Norwegian, Polish, Russian, Slovak, Swedish, Thai, Turkish and Ukranian.


However, the SIGMO is dependent on the data connection on a smartphone or tablet. The SIGMO connects to a mobile device using Bluetooth and a SIGMO mobile app runs in the background in case you need translations when wandering around a city. There’s also a 3.5 mm minijack port in case users prefer connecting a set of headphones in order to listen to translations in private. Regarding battery life, the creators of the SIGMO estimate the device will have 300 hours of standby time and eight hours of usage time before requiring a recharge. 

The development team is working on an offline translation service that will allow users to download add-ons to the original mobile app and add languages as needed. If the user is in a country without a consistent data connection, this could be vital for communication. In addition, the team is working on smarter translations that take the phrases into account when providing a translation. 


Regarding design, the SIGMO is small enough to clip onto the top of a shirt or a belt. The microphone and speaker within the unit can also double as a secondary device to answer incoming calls, ideal when you are in a group and multiple people need to talk. The standard SIGMO case, likely made out of plastic or steel, comes in black, white and yellow. In addition, the team has designed an aluminum version in silver and gold colors. To back the project, the base price of the SIGMO is $50, but there are additional funding levels if you need multiple devices in bulk for the workplace.

At this point in the campaign, the creators of SIGMO just hit the $100,000 mark for funding and there’s still more than three weeks of fundraising time left on the campaign. Targeting a January 2014 delivery window for the first bath of SIGMO devices, the creators will begin testing the first production versions just a couple months after funding closes. Be aware that shipping delays are common among these type of crowd funded projects due to manufacturing issues. 

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