Japanese businesses are finding they need to deal with increasing numbers of foreign visitors to Japan, and Panasonic thinks it has the answer: a megaphone that translates the user’s voices into multiple languages. The Megahonyaku, which is a reasonably good pun on the Japanese words for “megaphone” and “translation,” listens for Japanese input and plays back phrases in English, Chinese, and Korean.
This isn’t quite the portable babelfish of your dreams — Panasonic has only loaded it with around 300 set phrases, though it can connect to the internet to get more. Also it has a touchscreen, which you might think would let you bypass the whole “speaking” thing in the first place, but hey. And it requires a contract of “less than ¥20,000 ($183) a month,” according to Kyodo, which says Panasonic is looking to secure 10,000 enterprise customers by fiscal 2018.