Frequent international travelers know that the inability to pronounce street addresses in the local language can result in hours of lost wandering around an unfamiliar city. So, since those smartphone translation apps are still a little buggy, a pair of designers decided to come up with another tech enabled but practical solution.
Andrew Spitz and Momo Miyazaki created "WTPh? What the Phonics" as an interactive installation to serve as a kind of proof of concept for what international tourist areas might be like when foreigners not fluent in the local language have on-site audio assistance. Based in Copenhagen, where the local language is Danish, the team created a series of streets signs equipped with audio of a local pronouncing the word on the sign.
And, for those tourists engaged in studying the language, the signs are also designed to display a light above each syllable as it is being spoken, in much the same way as a karaoke screen helps you through the lyrics of a song. Using Arduino and Max to build the setup, the WTPh? delivers a great vision of what tourist areas around the world might offer with just a little extra technology.
You can see the talking signs in action in the video below.