British soldiers serving in Iraq could soon be wearing a wrist worn translation device invented by a University of Derby student.
Amin Ismail has landed the career opportunity of a lifetime after his translation device – the AKHY, Arabic for ‘speak’ – generated international publicity when it was first shown at the University’s Arts, Design and Technology Degree Show.
After Civil Defence Supply (CDS) of Lincoln heard about his device, Amin landed a job at the company as Synthetic Speech Project Manager. Now, through involvement with industry, he has a working prototype of the device. Full production is set to begin within the next six months.
The UK firm is a multi-million pound company that supplies special operational equipment to the police, armed forces and other peacekeeping organisations. Its technology includes long range photography, heat seeking devices and attachments to surveillance.
Managing Director of Civil Defence Supply Eran Bauer says the firm resembles the role of ‘Q’ in the James Bond films, creating, manufacturing and patenting the more unusual devices and gadgets, such as the synthetic pepper sprays carried by most UK police officers, riot shields for the military and peace-keeping forces, and many other innovative concepts not produced by mainstream suppliers.
The firm’s researchers had been working for eighteen months developing a language converter when they heard about Amin’s concept in the news – and immediately made an appointment to talk to him followed by an invitation to him to join them.
The AHKY device is now set to be on the market before the end of the year from Civil Defence Supply, which is an official supplier to NATO, the UN, the US Defense Department and the UK’s Ministry of Defence (MOD).
The AHKY currently has ten phrases such as ‘nothing will happen to you’; ‘turn around slowly’; and ‘come here’ which have been programmed in English, Arabic and Kurdish. There is room to include other languages as well.
Each unit is pre-loaded with a set language and a set of phrases specific for that user’s mission.
Tutor Karl Hurn, student Amin Ismail and soldiers from the fourth Batallion: Parachute Regiment.