Launchpad 2017

Think Shark Tank at ACTFL 2018! In its second year, this event, sponsored by ACTFL and the Language Flagship Technology Innovation Center at the University of Hawaii, features first-time entrepreneurs who have created a technology product intended to fill a need in world language education. During the 2018 ACTFL Convention, five startup companies presented their technology innovation. All of them are first-time ACTFL exhibitors who have created an innovative technology product intended to fill a need in world language education. A panel of experienced professionals and event attendees provided feedback and decided on a winner based on the pedagogical merits of the product. The winner received formal recognition in the form of an honorary plaque.

A Heartfelt Thank You!

The Tech Center would like to recognize the great work of our 2018 LaunchPad Judges:

Victoria Hasko, Ying Jin, Kathryn Murphy Judy, Carlos Seoane, Dan Soneson.


Year 2018 participants:



Presented by Frank Dolce

Banter leverages geo location to notify members of a community such as a university- when there are native speakers of a language they are learning (who are also community members) in their vicinity. Banter crowd sources from their shared community trending topics that are tied to the interests of the users and can therefore support them in jump starting outside the-classroom interactions with community members who speak a user’s foreign language. Some patented features include receiving native speaker feedback and the ability to save texts as a “note” that can be categorized and reviewed as a means of studying syntax, vocabulary and pragmatic features and shared with users’ instructors.

Outlier Linguistics

Presented by John Renfroe
Primary Audience: Government/Adult Ed., Graduate, Undergrad, Community College, High School

Outlier Dictionary of Chinese Characters | Outlier Kanji Dictionary is a dictionary of Chinese characters for learners of Chinese and/or Japanese which explains the underlying logic of the writing system: 1) an explanation of why the character looks the way it does, 2) an explanation of the character’s functional components and how they function within that particular character, 3) meaning and pronunciation, and how they relate to the form of the character, 4) stroke order, 5) examples of common vocabulary containing the character. The Expert Edition contains in-depth information about each character’s evolution, from its earliest form to its modern version, along with interesting historical tidbits.


Presented by Paul Miller
Primary Audience: Government/Adult Ed., Graduate, Undergrad, Community College, High School, Middle/Jr. High, Translators, Language Schools

VEO revolutionizes language learning through video. User generated data feedback helps learners improve speaking and listening skills. VEO combines video recorded via any device, with time-stamp tagged data. Learners, peers and teachers capture key moments of speaking, jumping directly to these, making video accessible and convenient for learning. Additionally, tags build up quantitative stats of learner strengths and areas for improvement, providing clear metrics to motivate change, support learner collaboration and generate cohort profiles. VEO comprises an online video tagging and sharing platform, and an optional live-tagging video recording app. Video can be livestreamed into the VEO platform for synchronous tagging at any distance.

App called Extempore

Fluent Forever

Presented by Gabriel Wyner
Primary Audience: Government/Adult Ed., Graduate, Undergrad, Community College, High School, Middle/Jr. High

Fluent Forever is designed to teach users how to think in a new language, rather than translate. The app accomplishes this by taking users through ear training, simple word acquisition using pictures, and complex vocab/grammar acquisition using sentences. Users choose which words they wish to learn, and which combination of sentences, pictures, and flashcard types will best teach them those words. The app then generates customized flashcards in the target language, along with a customized study plan. A companion web app enables students and native-speaking tutors to collaborate, creating and recording new, personalized sentences to be shared with all other users in a community database.

Read Alien

Presented by Michael Hines
Primary Audience: Government/Adult Ed., Graduate, Undergrad, Community College, High School, Middle/Jr. High, Elementary

Read Alien is a personalized language learning platform with two primary functions: recognizing a student’s learning experience and facilitating chats in the targeted language. Learners first acquire a foundation by importing their own prose (e.g. books, blog posts, news articles) into the platform. Read Alien cross references all words learners have registered as ‘known’ and ‘not known’ and present them back in an interactive, intuitive reading experience. Read Alien then uses data and context awareness to manage learners’ eLearning progress. The second function is a chat experience,
real-time assisted and overlayed with definitions from learners’ own vocabulary. A teacher can see instantly what words learners are struggling with.

Contact Information


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Moore Hall 256

Honolulu, HI 96822

(808) 956-5121

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