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November 29, 2021

Lifestyle Technology

A new interface between people [Cuzo]

Cutting-edge becomes a realit

A new interface between people.

Image: Just hold it up to access all kinds of information Just hold it up to access all kinds of information

Future technologies can be gentler.

User interfaces are becoming more advanced and complex with technological innovations. In the pursuit for further user-friendliness, the interpretation of the term "user" and the way interfaces should be also changes as situations and times change. One of the important themes of digitalizing society is being able to respond to diverse user attributes and various use cases, so that anyone can easily and effortlessly enjoy the digital assets.

The international sport event in 2021 was indeed an opportunity that embodied such technologies of the next generation. Being one of the largest sports festivals in the world, the physical event venues always involve various operations. It was especially important to support the difficulties of communication between visitors and event staff, speaking different languages from each other. How can we implement features to support communication between people speaking different languages in physical space, on a simple and easy-to-use device? To answer that question, NTT developed feature-distribution communication technology "CUzo." Feature-distribution communication means transferring essential features that were traditionally found inside devices to networks, and connecting them by telecommunication. This can keep the device itself simple and lightweight, and enable it to manage complex features responding to users' individual needs.

CUzo makes advanced applications and services that were hard to operate until now accessible for children and the elderly--it is the beginning of such a gentle future.

Supporting "hospitality" that transcends language barriers.

At the international sport event in 2021, some one hundred displays with a translucent display supporting CUzo communication technology were distributed to the event staff at three venues. NTT conducted two system verification tests to support the visitors' viewing experience.

Image: Supporting

One was real-time translation support. The system simultaneously translated the conversation between visitors, associates and responding event staff each speaking different languages, showing translated text on both sides of the transparent display. It enabled people to see the face of the person they were talking to through the screen, resulting in smooth face-to-face conversations.

Image: Supporting

The other, was an information guidance system based on AR (augmented reality) and 3D display. Venue and facility information and routes to spectator seats were displayed on the transparent display, with the scene seen through the transparent screen, enabling more intuitive and accurate navigation.

Operational support, including guidance at the venue, required physical distancing due to COVID-19. In such circumstances and linked to CUzo technologies, this transparent display served as an interface to connect people, supporting the staff's communication in conveying their heart of hospitality.

Connecting to the Future

Make all communication barriers transparent.

CUzo portrays a future where everyone, from children through adults, and transcending all language barriers, will be able to directly communicate with each other. Two or more people all speaking different languages stand in the same physical space but can enjoy talking spontaneously, instantly sharing information.

This transparent interface might bring such a future, a future of unprecedented exchanges where people can almost speak telepathically. Technology does not solve all problems in transcending language barriers for mutual understanding. However, there are things that only technology can do.

What if people could talk to each other without the language barrier, when there are several thousands of languages in the world? What kind of future will it bring to how people interact? Beyond the advancement of CUzo's technologies, their associated features and interfaces may be new and reinvented communication styles that are even beyond our imagination.

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CONTACT

NTT Service Innovation Laboratory Group
E-mail / randd-ml@hco.ntt.co.jp