Birds and Bots

Oh, another Sensory based product that I love is Hasbro’s Squawkers Macaw. Actually, it’s not just the speech recognition that makes it so cool, it’s the way Hasbro combined a variety of speech technologies together to create a fun user experience. My 4-year old son Sam loves to have the bird record his voice and morph it back to sound like a parrot. Now Squawkers always says “You smell like a fart.” The other night my wife couldn’t sleep and she went out to the living room to read. She walked by Squawkers and he woke up (lot’s of built in sensors) and said something like “Hey what’s cooking?” She about had a heart attack. Sam put the batteries back in when she wasn’t looking.

I talk a lot about my kids in these blogs. They have been invaluable as Beta testers. They’re probably the first kids to grow up controlling household products by voice. I knew we had to work on improving performance in noise when several years back my son Max said “OK everyone be quiet, I want to use Radar”. Radar was a Fisher Price Robot product released back around 1996. Radar taught Max to say “I can’t hear you, what did you say?” I’m glad Sensory’s performance has improved over the years and my kids have gotten more sophisticated too. They ask “what’s the active vocabulary?” when I bring home a new toy; much easier than reading the instructions.