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Source: MIL-OSI Submissions

Source: Ara Institute of Canterbury

In October, the first project created as a collaboration between Ara Institute of Technology, BSHHausgeräte GmbH (BSH), OTH Regensburg and New Zealand software company Jade was successfully completed.
Two students – Nick Leslie, studying ICT at Ara, and Johanna Bartko from OTH – developed a voice-activated, multi-modal user interface for a BOSCH premium home appliance that uses both English and German.
The project was conceived and supervised by Mr. Amit Sarkar , senior lecturer at Enterprise and Digital Innovation department (EDI) at Ara and lead researcher for the project. Amit has long been associated with the OTH Regensburg as part of an existing partnership between the two organizations. Prof. Westner from the Faculty of Computer Science and Mathematics acted as project supervisor on the German side.
He says “Incorporating a contact-less way to manage devices has demonstrable benefits for users, who can avoid mess and pathogens in commercial kitchens. The technology could also be of use to disabled consumers, who can control the hardware using speech alone.”
Student Nick Leslie impressed all the project stakeholders during the course of the project by meeting every ‘sprint’ deliverable up to the required standard. Nick also recently received an award given in ‘Recognition of Academic Achievement & Community Commitment’ during Ara’s recent ‘Eke Panuku’ awards night, which celebrates the annual achievements of Māori and Pacific students. Not surprisingly, the talented graduate has also finished the year in hot demand, with multiple job offers after receiving a 99.2% final grade. Nick has accepted an offer from Jade Software as a software engineer and has already begun working there, which ensures that he will not have to move far from his Ngāi Tahu homeland.
Dr. Ralph Bergmann, Head of Graphical User Interface Software at BSH was impressed with the hard work and commitment of both Nick and Johanna. “The two students did an excellent job. The cooperation and communication have always been professional and we will be able to build on the results of the work” says Dr. Bergmann. “This project demonstrates the close partnership between BSH, the OTH Regensburg and its international partners Ara Institute of Canterbury and Jade Software” he adds.
Prof. Westner also appreciates the value of the connection, saying “We are very grateful for the support of our local and international partners such as BSH, Jade Software or the ARA Institute. Close and trusting cooperation resulted in a win-win outcome for all parties involved.”
This project was showcased to 35 MFAT Ambassadors and High Commissioners, representing over 30 countries, at Ara as part of their recent three-day Diplomatic Study Tour of Christchurch. representing 30+ countries. John Ascroft, CIO of Jade Software Corporation summed up the project by saying “This was very exciting to work on, and a great outcome was achieved for everyone involved.”
Nigel Young, Head of EDI at Ara and advocate of work-integrated learning says, “This was an excellent example of a multi-national, multi-organizational work-integrated learning opportunity. For Ara students, the BARJ collaboration represents yet another means by which they can access professional work experiences while studying, with exposure to top global companies and educational institutions right here in Christchurch.”