Speech Technology Magazine


SoapBox API Lets Kids Have a Voice

SoapBox Labs has developed technology that enables voice recognition in children's electronics.
Posted Jan 2, 2018
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SoapBox Labs, a provider of speech recognition technology for children, has released a cloud-based application programming interface (API) that recognizes children's voices and integrates with their smart devices and applications. Device manufacturers and application developers can now voice-enable children's products.

The SoapBox API provides a voice interaction experience that enables children, ages 4 to 12, to voice-activate their toys and favorite devices, especially while being used in natural environments such as classrooms, cafes, and moving cars.

The SoapBox API supports sounds, words, sentences, fluency, and comprehension, allowing third-party developers to build the following services specifically for children:

  • Voice skills found in smart home devices and the Internet of Things;
  • Voice controls used in interactive toys, gaming, and virtual, augmented, and mixed reality devices;
  • Conversation between users and entertainment, edutainment, and gaming devices; and
  • Real-time pronunciation assessments for reading, literacy and language learning.

"In 2013, we realized that commercial speech recognition systems do not respond accurately to children's voices due to both physical and behavioral differences in how children speak when compared to adults, and performance gets even worse for young children. This is because those systems were built for adults using adult speech data," said SoapBox Labs CEO Patricia Scanlon in a statement. "We have built our speech recognition API that works exclusively for children in their every-day, uncontrolled environments and on a wide range of consumer mobile devices. Using our extensive speech technology expertise, our API performs at high accuracy for young children in real-world conditions such as in homes and schools."

SoapBox Labs is inviting developers to apply for free access its technology. These licenses will be available to a select number of projects that the company views as having a real social impact.

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