A new app has been launched by a young Birmingham technology company aimed at helping learners of foreign languages.
Learning Labs has created a companion app for its FlashSticks system which will translate any scanned object into more than 40 languages.
The firm, based at Innovation Birmingham Campus, has previously developed and launched a range of Post-it Notes which contain a foreign word, translation, visual icon and phonetic to help with pronunciation.
The range of notes are stocked by WHSmith, Staples, Amazon and Tesco - signed earlier this year - but are now joined by the new smartphone app which is free to download and has subscriptions costing up to £2.99 per month.
Veejay Lingiah, chief executive of Learning Labs, said: "The concept behind the newly launched FlashSticks app is to make learning a language fun, accessible, interactive and effective through the use of innovative technology.
"If you scan a handbag via the app, it can tell you that it's a red leather women's handbag and translate that into over 40 foreign languages, together with audio options to help with pronunciation.
"If you scan your pet dog, the algorithms we have developed for the app are so comprehensive it will tell you the breed of dog in the foreign language you are learning.
"We want this to be a really affordable and accessible tool to help people of all ages learn a foreign language in totally new way."
The technology behind the new app took 12 months to develop.
The algorithms mean the object being scanned does not need to have been seen by the system’s image processor before a written and audio description will be generated for any recognisable object.
In addition to the object scanner, the app enables users to learn grammar tips and take on challenges to progress their learning in their chosen foreign language.
The app, which is aimed at all levels of ability, also features games made after consultation with more than 100 modern language teachers and linguists to fuel better learning.
Different games target the various aspects of vocabulary a learner has to tackle including meaning, pronunciation, spelling, gender of nouns, listening and context within a sentence.
It can also be used in conjunction with the Post-it Notes which are available in six languages including British Sign Language.
Since Flashsticks products were first launched to the market in 2013, more than 150,000 packs have been ordered.
The start-up business has secured more than £500,000 of investment to forward fund production costs, further develop the product in many more languages and fund development of the new app.