“I Was Denied Funding Due To My Race” – Danny Manu, The Ghanaian Inventor Behind Translator Earbuds

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In today’s world of globalisation and information, communication has become an integral part of our day to day activities. As we move from place to place, we’re more likely than not to come into contact with people who speak different languages. In these instances, it becomes necessary to find a middle ground to enable smooth and easy communication.

A Ghanaian man by the name Danny Manu has invented wireless earbuds that can translate over 40 languages. Goaded on by the need for an item like this in the market, Danny’s product, called Click, is said to be “the world’s first truly wireless earphones” with live voice translation supporting about 40 languages. It makes text-to-speech and speech-to-text possible and does not need internet. It can sync with smartphones which will enable the earbuds learn the language being spoken whilst providing instant translations to the person listening.

Danny is an engineer who was born in the United Kingdom to Ghanaian parents. He studied at Oxford Brookes University and had previously worked at Quanta Networks Inc. as an aerospace engineer before quitting his job to pursue his inventions. His first product, the waterproof Gabby speaker, is named after his daughter who once dropped her phone in water, something that triggered the idea.

To fund his work, Danny had to use his savings and crowdfunding because banks and government agencies in the UK were unwilling to give him a chance due to his skin colour. “Like all the other ethnic minority-run businesses within the UK, I had a hard time getting the funding and financial support from banks and government-funded programmes that I needed,” he is reported to have said. He managed to raise USD 5 million eventually. Today, his product is gradually gaining grounds in Europe, America and Asia.

In 2020, at the height of the pandemic, Danny started MEDYBIRD to manufacture personal protective equipment for individuals and institutions in the UK and across the world. 

He has been honoured by Google for his contribution to  science, arts and culture.

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