Polyglot take on learning language

Scott Cardwell is filming in 10 countries for his virtual reality-based learning languages tool....
Scott Cardwell is filming in 10 countries for his virtual reality-based learning languages tool. PHOTO: GERARD O'BRIEN
It's au revoir London and bonjour Paris this week for ImmerseMe founder Scott Cardwell.

The former Dunedin man is on a whirlwind trip through 10 countries to film content for what is believed to be the world's first virtual reality-based tool for learning languages.

ImmerseMe combines 360-degree video and vocal recognition software to create an immersive, interactive language learning experience for travellers, businesspeople and students.

It gives users the chance to practise everyday interactions in a risk-free virtual space - filmed in a real-life environment - that allows them to make mistakes, learn and become fluent.

Mr Cardwell, who was one of the co-founders of Dunedin-based Language Perfect, is visiting London, Paris, Madrid, Amsterdam, Berlin, Rome, Athens, Beijing, Tokyo and Bali, and will complete the trip by late November.

He and videographer Tim Armstrong will shoot 500 scenarios over 10 weeks, in an intense schedule of scouting locations, filming, editing and uploading footage.

Users will learn practical language skills for scenarios they will encounter when travelling.

That includes everyday conversations for things like buying bread from a bakery, ordering a meal at a restaurant, buying tickets to a museum, greeting a stranger or checking into a hotel.

There will also be interactions specifically designed for business travellers, such as learning formal ways of making introductions, presenting a business card and receiving a gift.

Using virtual reality, a meeting can be simulated and business travellers will have an opportunity to identify subtle cultural cues.

It is intended to launch ImmerseMe on PCs, mobile phones and tablets in April next year.

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