DARPA awards translation software license contract to Integrated Wave Technologies
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has purchased 2,000 specialized voice translation apps from Fremont, CA-based Integrated Wave Technologies, Inc.
The Miltrans app provides approximately 350 phrases in over 50 languages to enable front-line military personnel to communicate with non-English-speaking people. This application was based on IWT’s highly successful Voice Response Translator (VRT) used by the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Special Operations Forces and Coast Guard.
The system was also acquired in significant numbers by Canadian Forces. The application was developed in cooperation with DARPA’s Transformative Apps program.
Altogether, IWT has manufactured over 12,500 VRTs for military use. The VRT received excellent reviews from combat users, as reported through US FORSCOM command language program managers and other evaluators.
“For hot combat environments, the VRT excels,” says an Institute for Defense Analyses Report, S&T Responsiveness In Support of Current Military Operations.
The IWT Miltrans app enables operational personnel to translate basic phrases into over 50 languages commonly spoken in countries where U.S. and allied forces are deployed. These phrases support force protection, civil affairs, combat patrol, humanitarian, disaster relief, medical and other missions.
Timothy McCune, president of Integrated Wave Technologies, Inc. said DARPA’s support has made the MilTrans application a top choice for U.S. forces deployed throughout the world. “DARPA’s backing was key in making the VRT the go-to system for U.S. military forces working in ultra-high-noise situations,” McCune said. “We are honored to support combat-capable smart phones and other devices that are leveraging technological advances for the benefit of our warfighters.”
The MilTrans application is the fourth effort that DARPA has funded with IWT. DARPA funded an improved version of the VRT that included limited recognition of foreign-language words. The agency then funded IWT’s Laptop Interface Device (LID) to improve the performance of laptop-based language translation systems. Finally, DARPA funded the revolutionary Headset Integrated Translator (HIT) that incorporates unprecedented capabilities into military headset form factors.
Associated with the Headset Integrated Translator effort, IWT was awarded a broad patent (U.S. Patent 7,707,035) for integrated headset innovations with both military and commercial relevance. This patent, “Autonomous Integrated Headset and Sound Processing Systems for Tactical Applications,” covers key areas of advanced soldier systems technology. This includes a wide range of communications and situational awareness capabilities in addition to IWT’s core work in language translation.
The Headset Integrated Translator project creates a sound processing system composed of a headset receiving sounds from the user and from around the user. A camera receives additional information and an on-board computing capability translates foreign languages and other sounds/sights for the user, and translates what the user says into other languages. The system includes complete user network connectivity.