A team behind the development of safe and secure voice technology for children, SoapBox Labs, has unveiled new features to its tech that give kids a ‘more natural and frictionless’ way to interact with their games, apps, and smart toys using their voices.
Until now, features such as Voice Activity Detection and Custom Wakeword have only existed for adults and have not been developed for children because of their unique speech patterns, behaviours, environments, and privacy needs.
That’s all about to change, as SoapBox Labs lays out new tech that ‘will transform how children of all ages and accents interact with technology.’
SoapBox Labs CEO, Dr Martyn Farrows, said: “Our consumer-focused clients are always looking to offer more immersive and natural play experiences to kids while ensuring their privacy is protected. New voice features like these are the answer.”
The release of these new features comes as adoption of the company’s purpose-built voice technology accelerates in the consumer market, thanks to the development of solutions that allow kids to interact using their voices, whether they’re playing with digital or physical toys.
Voice Activity Detection automatically detects when a child begins to speak and only then does the voice technology begin processing and analysing their voice data, while Custom Wakeword allows a child to activate a dormant device using a custom word or phrase.
In the wake of the COVID pandemic, a growing number of toy, app, and game developers are rethinking the interface between children and technology. Many suggest that voice technology can enhance the experience for a child of using a popular augmented reality (AR) game such as Pokemon Go.
It is argued that by adding voice, users remove the need for countless button presses that interrupt the play experience. With voice, a child only needs to speak to guide their play in a ‘more fluid and authentic way’. Voice-driven experiences also increase accessibility to technology for younger children who are still building their fine motor skills.
“SoapBox prides itself on solutions that are easy to integrate and that keep accuracy and privacy at the forefront of a high-performance experience for kids,” said SoapBox Labs founder and executive chair Dr. Patricia Scanlon.
“Importantly, we also offer clients the flexibility to deliver these experiences on-device or in physical toys using embedded chips.”
In 2021 SoapBox is making significant new investments in each of its two core offerings: “SoapBox Educate” and “SoapBox Play.” SoapBox Educate already leads in the edtech market with solutions that voice-enable literacy, language learning, dyslexia screening, and speech therapy products, while SoapBox Play focuses on voice-enabling children’s games, toys, and entertainment applications for the home and consumer market.
SoapBox Labs has made no secret of its mission to ‘radically transform how kids interact with technology using their voices.’ Its low-code, independent and proprietary technology delivers high accuracy for kids ages two to 12 of all accents and dialects.