Smart phones

  • 20 August 2015
  • admin

Since interpretation equipment can be expensive, and expensive to scale, we have been considering whether smart phones can serve as equipment.

It was pretty surprising how many different options exist to implement this.

An option that does not use data or need internet access would be ideal. Stories about FireChat were very intriguing. There are stories of people using it in Iraq and Hong Kong. Could this be utilized as interpretation equipment? This smart phone app uses wireless mesh networking to enable smartphones to connect via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or Appleā€™s Multipeer Connectivity Framework without an internet connection by connecting peer-to-peer. This is a proprietary app, but there is the Serval Project, which "aims to provide infrastructure for direct connections between cellular phones through their Wi-Fi interfaces, without the need of a mobile phone operator."

There are examples of apps that allow you to talk to other phones that are nearby:
Intercom for Android - group calls, but only for Android.

TiKL - free and no ads? available for iPhone and Android? Makes me wonder what the business plan is. Update: although the Google Play description said "Completely FREE. No hidden fee or ads" the FAQ in Q8 says "The location access is needed by the ads. It is standard practice in the ad industry. Next time you see an ad from your local restaurant, that is it."

Motolky - has possibilities. an open source project that could be a partner. we need an iPhone app though :(

An app that could be installed on either Android or iPhones, that does not need data or Internet access, would be the best option for replacing simultaneous interpretation equipment. This type of equipment is mostly used in one room.

Another intriguing option, although requiring additional equipment, is uMurmur. Mumble is software that uses very little bandwidth while allowing people to talk to each other. It is specifically designed for video games, and is widely used. uMurmur is designed to be installed on a wireless router, which means that you could bring it with you and have all the people needing interpretation connect their phones to your wireless router. They could then use a Mumble app (iPhone or Android to listen to the interpretation.

Other things I looked at include: chromespeak, imo, mexcla, pttdroid, zello.

Next step is to flush out the needs, then return to this list and choose the best option to meet the needs.