Technology Innovation Center Hosts International Language Technology Competition

Online challenge offers platform for innovative startups that seek to revolutionize language learning

LaunchPad Competition

Five first-time entrepreneurs are vying to create the best new product to fill a need in world language education. The technology competition, LaunchPad, is in its fourth year. It is hosted by The Language Flagship Technology Innovation Center (Tech Center) at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.

The 2021 competition on Feb. 20, 3-4:15 p.m. EST, will be held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Radio personality Burt Lum, host of Hawaiʻi Public Radio's Bytemarks Café, will emcee LaunchPad.

The five startup companies are based in the U.S., Canada, Germany and New Zealand. During the competition, the finalists will pitch their innovation. A panel of experienced professionals from a wide variety of fields will provide feedback, and ultimately select the winner. Audience members will also cast their votes for a People's Choice Award.

Both winners receive an honorary plaque, and all finalists will receive exposure and access to thousands of language educators, successful companies and The Language Flagship international network.

"One of the underlying ideas of the LaunchPad is to intersect the expertise of learning professionals with technology entrepreneurs during the nascent development of innovative and impactful learning technologies," said Richard Medina, project lead and specialist at the Tech Center.


  • (California)—A voice-based Artificial Intelligence (AI) tutor of English as a foreign language for kids, this mobile app helps children practice their spoken English by conversing with a virtual AI-powered cartoon character—Buddy the robot. With its engaging virtual character, speech technology and adaptive learning, Buddy is making tutoring and speaking practice affordable for children worldwide.
  • (Germany)—eKidz democratizes language development by providing easy access to its platform through mobile devices, and by tailoring experiences to specific needs of children from different cultural and social backgrounds.
  • FabuLingua (Texas)—FabuLingua helps kids learn languages through interactive children's stories by writers and illustrators all over the world. It maximizes comprehensible input through magical stories, enabling subconscious development of listening, comprehension and reading skills.
  • ImmerseMe (New Zealand)—ImmerseMe is about virtually stepping into a beautiful and authentic location to learn a language. Choose from more than 3,000 interactive scenarios across nine languages: German, Spanish, French, English, Japanese, Chinese, Italian, Greek and Indonesian.
  • Syngli (Canada)—Syngli's core product is an intelligent tutoring system, derived from interactive novel learning algorithms, an adaptive knowledge database and an online collaborative user community.

Tech Center Director Julio C. Rodriguez said that the products being developed by the 2021 LaunchPad finalists stand out for their creativity and potential to innovate language education.

"We hope these companies will use this opportunity to take advantage of the amazing expertise that the Tech Center community offers, and that they will use the feedback they receive to further align their products with the needs of world language professionals," Rodriguez said.

Register for free via The Language Flagship Technology Innovation Center website.

Source: The Language Flagship Technology Innovation Center, University of Hawai'i at Manoa

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About The Language Flagship Technology Innovation Center

The Tech Center is an initiative sponsored by the Defense Language and National Security Education Office (DLNSEO). Its mission is to enhance the learning of critical languages in Flagship programs through the effective use of technology.

The Language Flagship Technology Innovation Center
1890 East West Road, Moore Hall 256
Honolulu, Hawaii

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