Most read: Spark, Google release free photo recognition Māori translation app

This story was first published on Monday September 10.

New mobile app Kupu uses photo recognition technology to offer Māori translations of words.
New mobile app Kupu uses photo recognition technology to offer Māori translations of words. Source: Spark

A free mobile app that uses photo recognition to identify items in te reo has just been released, in conjunction with Māori Language Week.

Called Kupu (translation: "word"), it is available at the iOS App Store and via the Google Play Store.

"There are some amazing resources for learning Te Reo Māori, including books, websites and apps," said Auckland University of Technology Māori language expert Dean Mahuta, who served as an advisor on the project.

"However, this is the first learning tool to translate pictures in real-time. It's an evolution of the resources that are out there."

The project was funded by Spark, pairing Google's artificial intelligence technology with the Te Aka Māori Dictionary, on online resource that has more than 300,000 visitors per month.

"It would be amazing if, as a nation, we could learn together through an immersive interactive experience - one picture and translation at a time," Google's creative director, Tara McKenty, said in a statement announcing the app.

Spark has released the Kupu mobile app, which uses photo recognition technology to translate images into te reo. Source: Spark

"Just learning a single word each day can collectively have a huge and lasting impact on our collective knowledge of Te Reo Māori."

Google's artificial intelligence platform is expected to continue to learn, improving te reo translations on Kupu as it receives more feedback.