The Yak Project:
Wearable Translation Devices

Last updated: $Date: 2001/05/17 04:10:36 $, $Author: jani $

Who, what, why, where?

The Yak Project is the brainchild of Jani PATOKALLIO under the enlightened stewardship of Dr. Nigel WARD at the HCI Laboratory, Dept. of Mechano-Informatics, the University of Tokyo.

The aim of the Yak Project is to create a functional prototype of a wearable translation device. Read more about it. The project is called Yak because a translation device in Japanese is 通訳機 (tsuuyakki), but before we can build a 2-yakki we have to build a 1-yakki. <groan>


Yak-2 (通訳, tsuuyaku)

Yak-2 is a real wearable computer using a real augmented-reality display. Yak-2's design is complete, the hardware remains under construction.


A stopgap version consisting of the Yak-1 fitted with a MicroOptical clip-on display and with the electronics moved to a shoulder bag.

Yak-1 (碗訳, wanyaku)

Yak-1 is a hacked monocular Sony Glasstron bolted on to a Vaio subnotebook. Clocking in at around 1.5 kg and carried around in a backpack, it's not exactly wearable, but it is reasonably luggable. See the construction guide and hardware usability assessment.

Yak-1 was born in August 2000 and the hardware was more or less complete by October 2000.

Jani wearing the Yak-1.5


The software used by both Yak-1 and Yak-2 is known as the Yakkey Translation Interface. Yakkey itself parses scripts written a custom language defined in the YakScript Language Definition. Both remain heavily under construction.


J. Patokallio and N. Ward. A Wearable Cross-language Communication Aid. Int. Symp. Wearable Computing 2001, abstract, pdf (early draft).

J. Patokallio and N. Ward. A Design for a Wearable Translation Device. Human Interface Society 第13回研究会 (2001), publication pending.

J. Patokallio, master's thesis. Still being written.


Several short video clips to illustrate the Yak-1.5 in action are now available.

Jani Patokallio (