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TechCrunch Disrupt finalist Voxy, a service that lets you learn a language “from life” has just updated its iPhone app in the App Store, with one pretty disruptive difference; Voxy’s ESL app Aprende inglés now uses your location to help you learn a language, presenting you with the related vocabulary, as well things you hear and things you say if you’re at a destination like a restaurant, for example. The app uses the SimpleGeo platform to bring users context-based lessons for about 150 points of interest including barbershops, dentist’s offices, banks, grocery stores and more. Each lesson is built so a user can complete it in three minutes, so as not to detract from the actual experience of being in a restaurant or grocery store. “We’re getting closer to being able to simulate an immersive experience where the learning is done in the flow of daily life, ” says founder Paul Gollash.
In 2005, then-Carnegie Mellon PhD grad student Luis von Ahn had an idea for a game. In one of the first examples of true crowdsourcing, he had people looking at images and labeling them to improve image search. Google acquired ESP Game in 2005 and renamed it Google Image Labeler . In 2007, now-Professor von Ahn had another idea. He realized that all the time people wasted typing in CAPTCHAs could be used for some good: helping to digitize books.