The dream of technology liberating us from the burden of having to learn new languages in order to travel is nothing new. Sci-Fi fans are aware of the possibility that future generations of mankind will use universal translators that can translate whatever language aliens may speak. In our lifetimes, though, smartphones hold the potential to remove the language barrier (we can hope, at least). But what if you don't want to have to whip our your smartphone constantly? You might want to check out SIGMO, a voice translating device that has completely demolished its $15,000 funding goal on Indiegogo. With over $133,000 secured, SIGMO's developers hope to release a product that will revolutionize how people communicate on their vacations and business trips abroad.


SIGMO is a small, square device with rounded corners and tiny speakers. It's lightweight enough to wear as a necklace but not quite modest enough for subtlety. At 1.6-inches in size, it's not large enough for Flavor Flav, but a few rappers could wear a gold version and accrue a decent amount of respect. Alternatively, a conservative professional could clasp it to their belt, shirt collar, or wristband and get around casually enough.



SIGMO lacks a screen. Instead, it pairs with your phone via a Bluetooth connection. It won't require you to interact with your smartphone to use it, though. Simply press a button on the SIGMO itself, speak, and listen to the translation it speaks out for you and person you're trying to communicate with.

SIGMO comes with a 3.5 mm jack for private use, doesn't require an online connection, and supports 25 languages.

SIGMO's supported languages:

  • Arabic
  • Bulgarian
  • Catalan
  • Chinese (China)
  • Croatian
  • Czech
  • Danish
  • Dutch
  • English (US)
  • English (UK)
  • English (Australia)
  • English (Canada)
  • French (France)
  • French (Canada)
  • Finish
  • German
  • Greek
  • Hebrew
  • Hindi
  • Hungarian
  • Indonesian
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Malay
  • Mandarin and Cantonese(Taiwan / Hong Kong)
  • Norwegian
  • Polish
  • Portuguese (Portugal)
  • Portuguese (Brazil)
  • Russian
  • Slovak
  • Spanish (Spain)
  • Spanish (United States)
  • Spanish (Mexico)
  • Swedish
  • Thai
  • Turkish
  • Ukranian

There are 19 days left to go before this campaign closes, and anyone who wants a SIGMO just has to make a minimum contribution of $50. An aluminum gold or silver version is available for $15 more.


Considering that apps are typically much cheaper (and in the case of Google Translate, the price is $0), SIGMO may come off to many as too expensive a product for what it does. Its Indiegogo page has rather awkward grammar, which leads me to doubt whether the device that ships this coming January will do a better job translating than the current software we've seen. The project may have thus far amassed nearly 9x its funding goal, but that money comes from roughly 1,000 people. In the grand scheme of things, that's not that many. Still, SIGMO's worth watching, and as far as crowd-funded wearable technology goes, at least it's not another smartwatch.

SIGMO - talk and understand in more than 25 languages!!

Bertel King, Jr.
Born and raised in the rural South, Bertel knows what it's like to live without 4G LTE - or 3G, for that matter. The only things he likes sweeter than his tea are his gadgets, and while few objects burn more than a metal phone on a summer day, he prefers them that way anyway.

  • Kent Andersen

    Why is there a male voice every time a girls speaks and vice versa?

    • http://jamieellis.co.cc/ Jamie Ellis

      potentially some wrong there that was not considered.

      Should have an option to detect vocal tone (male and female) as part of the translate process or actually provide settings for choice of playback speech voice (assuming it not already).

  • valapsp


    • Mattia

      *Voglio questa merda :)

  • Mayoo

    Next week : Holodeck, Food Replicator, Phaser and pin-communicator on Kickstarter

    • http://jamieellis.co.cc/ Jamie Ellis

      Food Replicator would potentially be the best thing for human civilization aside from bridging the gap by unifying the world through ease of translation.

      For me, personal pleasure (i.e. Holodeck) and defence (phaser) are lower goals!

  • Matthew Fry

    Yeah.... I'll wait for version 3 or so thanks.

  • Shawn Cheever

    Nice idea (with a Star Trek feel!) but it's just a bridge to Google Translate. Would have been better if it stored a complete language database inside the device and operated independently of any data connections/smartphones. Maybe in another 100 years... =)

  • Jef Cashless

    How stupid. It requires a data connection on your phone and it connects to your phone via bluetooth. WTF? Why not just use Google Translate?!

    • Jef Cashless

      Unless you're switching SIM cards, data overseas is horrendously expensive.

      • http://jamieellis.co.cc/ Jamie Ellis


        Some rest bait for European citizens however at least from July 2014 will see end of roaming premium within the EU so something positive to think of.

    • herebedragons69

      From the SIGMO page on Indiegogo.com

      "Offline Translation. We are working on offline translation service that will give people an ability to download vocabularies into mobile and to communicate with others without internet connection. No one can do that right now and we want to be first among the others who will provide such function to our consumers."

  • Amer Khaznadar

    Seeing that they didn't even take the time to make sure that a single Arabic word at the end of the video is written correctly does wonders to boost confidence in that project....

    Seriously though, isn't this whole device basically a bluetooth headset for an application that runs on the phone? Or am I missing something?

  • http://jamieellis.co.cc/ Jamie Ellis

    If I had a smartwatch (e.g. Gear) and wanted this voice translator device for my overseas needs I probably prefer this to be an smartwatch app!

    Not wanting to have to attach 2 devices to my wrists!

  • SickoPsycho

    They should call it the babel fish...

  • Scott Standish-Parkin

    this assumes that you have data connectivity in a foreign country...