Mondly launches virtual reality for learning languages, powered by chatbots

Practice talking in 28 different languages with virtual characters, which teach language fundamentals and help build confidence, with the Mondly VR app
Written by Eileen Brown, Contributor

Romania-based ATi Studios, the creator of the Mondly language learning platform, has released a virtual reality app for language education.

Mondly launches virtual reality for learning languages, powered by chatbots ZDNet
(Image: Mondly)

The VR app uses Mondly's conversational voice chatbot, released by the company in August 2016, which has self-learning technology.

It combines voice chatbot technology with speech recognition in virtual reality to create a new way for users to learn a new language.

The Learn Languages VR by Mondly app allows people to experience lifelike conversations with virtual characters.

The company created the VR application based on what users need to effectively learn a new language: instant feedback and an "immersive, real-world experience to build their confidence."

The technology uses speech recognition that understands phrases and words in 28 different languages. It has learned millions of new phrases and responses since its release, due to its self-learning technology.

Its language-learning platform has been downloaded over 15 million times. The VR application intends to realize virtual reality's promise of immersive and automated educational experiences.

It gives instant feedback on pronunciation and suggestions to add to a learner's vocabulary, and it offers 'surprises' to turn learning a language into a fun experience.

The app aims to bridge the technologies behind chatbots, speech recognition, and VR with a new automatic voice detection system so that the speech interaction feels natural in a VR environment.

The system calibrates to the room's background noise and ignores unintentional sounds.

The first version of the app offers three scenes across 28 languages, such as a restaurant scenario where users can practice ordering food and drinks in a small bistro.

Other scenarios include the Eurotrain, where users can have a conversation and make new friends on a train in Europe, or they can check into a boutique hotel and secure a room with a view.

Alexandru Iliescu, the CEO and co-founder of ATi Studios, said: "Because VR is so immersive, we quickly realised that traditional speech interaction models that require a tap or a voice command to enable speech recognition would kill the flow of the experience."

He added: "So we developed our own automatic voice detection system. The result is amazing, the conversations with the virtual characters happen as naturally as real-life conversations - they just flow."

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