Japanese mobile operator NTT Docomo has unveiled a pair of augmented reality glasses that can translate foreign menus in real time.

The Intelligent Glasses can project an image of translated text over characters that the reader doesn’t understand, according to French news agency AFP

The next-generation spectacles were showcased on Monday at the Combined Exhibition of Advanced Technologies (CEATEC), an annual consumer technology fair in Japan.

NTT Docomo claimed that the wearable technology, which is currently at the research stage, could be used by tourists arriving for the 2020 Olympics in Toyko.

"Character recognition technology enables instant language translation for users travelling abroad and reading restaurant menus and other documents," NTT Docomo said.

The head-mounted display can translate Japanese, English, Chinese and Korean languages in minimum of five seconds, according to other reports.  

NTT Docomo added that the technology can also turn flat surfaces into touchscreens, allowing a person to manipulate a virtual image in their field of vision using a ring that relays hand movements on the blank surface back to the glasses.

The spectacles also feature facial recognition software that can be used to look up someone's identity and job title from the owner's smartphone directory, the company added.

Earlier this year Google unveiled its own augmented reality spectacles in the form of Google Glass, which is set to go on sale next year. Google's offering includes a small screen that can be used to deliver directions, social media streams and web pages just above the right eye. The wearable computer allows wearers to take a picture, record a video and read messages.

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