Meet the SME Instrument Innovators
Learning a foreign language is often tough and time consuming, as one of the co-founders of the Estonian start-up Lingvist, Mait Müntel, realised himself when living abroad. So he decided to face the challenge with a unique solution based on computational science.
The story of the company did not start in a language training room, but in CERN, Switzerland. Physicist Mait Müntel, was busy discovering new particles; and whilst the existence of the elementary Higgs boson particle was eventually proved right, Mr Müntels' attempt to acquire the local French language was significantly less successful. After years in Switzerland, his progress was still slow. He therefore decided to find a solution to his language dilemma based on and area he knows well – science – and built his own software.
Lingvist's programme uses algorithms to identify statistically useful and important words. At the same time, it keeps track of student's individual progress, learning what is picked up easily and what is forgotten.
The system adapts in real time during learning sessions to match your progress and memory pattern, guaranteeing the shortest possible learning time.
Lingvist claims that after leaning with a homemade prototype for only 200 hours, Mr Müntel managed to take a high-school-level French test and passed it with a strong overall score. This was just the beginning. Today, Lingvist belongs to the community of SME Instrument innovators and is further developing their unique solution for public use.