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Finally, a toy you can have a real conversation with!
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Google Voice Recognition for Under 8 Years of Age

Posted by Supertoy Robotics (Creator)

A number of you have asked will it work my Child?

The short answer ages 8 and above very good, but under 8 it drops significantly the younger the child.

We use Google voice recognition. From experience of testing on dozens of young children the voice recognition does drop significantly for UNDER 8 Years of age. From my findings, 7 years a 25% drop in accuracy, 6 years 50% and 5 years 75% drop. 

Of course this heavily depends on the Child's own development, we all develop growing up at different levels, biologically and mentally. 

An example of a 5 year old.

This is what Google had to say on the matter.

That's one question that Google Now's voice search can't answer easily, and it's an often-asked one from kids with access to their parents' phones, said Google Search team Vice President Tamar Yehoshua. Google Now, Google's search-and-knowledge personal assistant, currently can respond to queries in around 52 spoken languages. The service will soon gain the ability to switch between up to seven languages on the fly, like a proper multilingual robot. Google originally told CNET that the feature would begin updating on Wednesday, June 25, but Google has since said that the feature will be delayed until later in the summer with no confirmed release date. You'll have to preselect your secondary languages, but once you do that, the feature will work. Simultaneous multiple-language support is expected to arrive in the coming days to all Google Now users. Google researchers told CNET said that seemingly simple language-recognition tasks are much harder than they appear. Yehoshua said during a recent lunchtime conversation at Google's Building 43 here that she's looked into how many people are aware that they can search Google by asking their phones. "Fifty percent of smartphone and tablet users in the US are aware of voice search, and one-third of those use it," Yehoshua said. But she added that most people don't realize how natural conversational queries have gotten with Google Now. RELATED LINKS Google to turn on new set-top boxes with Android TV software Google vies for coders' hearts and minds at Google I/O Larry Page's stamp on Google: More than moon shots CNET's live blog of Google I/O Around 130 million people in the US have used Google's voice recognition for search within the three years that the feature has been available, according to numbers from the Pew Research Internet Project. Searching Google by voice is available on Windows, Mac, Linux, and Chrome OS desktops in Google Chrome, and in apps for Android, iOS, and Windows 8. "Most people will use it for things like checking the weather," Yehoshua said. "They don't know that you can ask, 'Do I need an umbrella today?'" Johann Schalkwyk, a lead staff software engineer on Google's voice-recognition team, discussed some of the myriad problems that Google is working to solve. "In order for this digital assistant to be part of your everyday life, it just has to work," he said. The problem is that's not always the case. Ambient noise, such as from your car if you're using it while zipping down a freeway, is one problem. Another is accents and unusual speaking patterns, such as those from children. Google Now is about a year or two away from beginning to be able to recognize kids' speech, he said, an impressive prediction given the problems. Legally, there are issues with the retention of data from children, as covered in the US by the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act. But there are technological problems as well. "Speech and input modalities are very difficult" for the technology to recognize from children starting as young as 3 to around 10 years old, he said. "They're learning to enunciate better; they don't always speak grammatically; they yell at the phone; they hyper-enunciate -- 'DIE-no-saur.'" Despite the problems, Schalkwyk believes Google's progress in voice recognition will solve current woes sooner rather than later. "It's going to be five years, maybe less, before my computer can recognize child speech as well as I can," Schalkwyk said. Although Google just announced that the recognition technology has gotten good enough to understand Indian accents, that still leaves a virtual tower of Babel misheard and misunderstood, and people using it frustrated. A third problem that Google has yet to solve is what Schalkwyk, a South African native, called a "far field environment." That's when the distance from the mouth of the person speaking to the microphone is too large for the technology to work well. Even the 6 to 9 feet between your couch and your TV can be too far for the tech to handle well. Schalkwyk said that while Google is employing better and more microphones to capture a stronger audio signal, his division relies more heavily on research into "deep neural networks." "Recurrency, the input of one neuron that goes back and feeds upon itself, models dynamic signals in speech very well," he said. Basically, language modeling copies how the human brain picks up audio, "leading to pretty dramatic breakthroughs. On top of that, if you just add a lot of data, that's very useful." Despite all the advanced scientific research that goes into Google telling you if you need an umbrella today, voice recognition still has a long way to go. Schalkwyk confirmed what many Google users have already figured out: Google Now doesn't do well with names, especially those of places and restaurants. Some of that will be fixed as Google builds its knowledge graph, its database filled with facts about the real world and the connections between them. There's also a problem with what can be charitably called the "dork factor." It's just not particularly cool to talk to your phone anymore, and even less so when a robotic voice answers you back. Yehoshua said there are no plans to change the initiating phrase, "OK Google," or soften up the robotic timbre to the responses. "There are going to be environments where voice is better, and there are environments where you want to be more polite," she said. She declined to offer guidance on what those were, although she did note that voice search usage is high in countries like Japan where typing is not as easy as it is in English. As to the question of what to tell your kids when they ask Google instead of you why they can't have chocolate? Perhaps Google Now should tell them to eat their veggies.

Source CNET

Shane Conder, Eric Gustafson, and 1 more person like this update.


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    1. Cameron (BLINK) on

      Nope, apparently typing two - three letters was too much to ask...

    2. Cameron (BLINK) on

      All this talk of Google now and everything has made me realise that we will NEVER see an iOS app for the bear. Ashley, can we get an answer Please? Will there or will there not be an iOS app for the bear? Yes or no?

    3. Jason Archer on

      Haha Peter, voodoo teddy stretch goal. Comes with a shrunken head teddy and 10 3" needles.

    4. Missing avatar

      Peter on

      @B1gdeano - Completely understandable, but in the end, when Google says they can't understand toddlers, why did we so easily think it would be easy as a stretch goal for a UK startup? My toddler is not going to be able to use it, and it's not quite the bear that was being advertised, but it's something.
      We've had doubts that a bear would _ever_ arrive, and here we see people actually receiving theirs and we see more shipping and even see people getting customer support when they receive a dead bear (okay, that sounds wrong) ... At some point, I accepted that KS is a bit of a crap shoot, but things _are_ moving along, so as Cheryl Crow once sang, sometimes, "it's not having what you want, it's wanting what you've got."
      I don't know if Ashley's got someone helping him with Updates or something, but you have to admit, he's had a couple-few updates recently that contained real information and weren't just video montages. Take heart and take hope - it may be that with future updates the bear approaches something resembling the initial promise. Either way, you'll have a bear that's either functional as a toy or as a voodoo doll, but it sounds like you _will_ have a bear. :)

    5. B1gdeano on


      From something new and exciting all anyone is going to get is a bear that can voice search the internet. Just like your phone does anyway!

      The phone was originally supposed to fit inside the bear and be hidden, but now it doesn't!

      It's a joke. I could have done this for half the price given to Ashley and had a bear to everyone within six months of the KS ending.

      Where did the money go I ask. The only costs I can see are production and distribution of the bear. The software is based in currently available free software. Minor dev time involved.

      Fed up and bored of this shit now.

    6. Jason Archer on

      +1 B1gdeano. I guess it has been so long that he is hoping everyone forgot what super teddy was supposed to be and at this point just happy to get something.

    7. Brian Levinsen

      The trouble with Google Now voice recognition in other languages is that it can regognize what I say but not understand it.
      So for example if I in the English Google Now ask it to call Peter, it will open the Phone app and search for Peter. If I do the same with Google now set to Swedish, it will instead do a Google search for the query "call Peter".

      And in regards to children, well I did not even try to get Google to understand what my 5 year old says in Swedish. :-)

    8. B1gdeano on

      This whole project has been a massive waste of time.

      The original idea was and ARTIFICIALLY INTELLIGENT bear, but all you have done is use currently available, free, off the shelf tech such as google voice recognition and plug it into a siri rip off app.


      This is not what anyone originally gave their money for! If this was what it was the bears could have rolled out within months of this KS closing - You have done NOTHING new or innovative

      What happened to the stretch goal of having "teddy" understand toddlers? Oh wait that cant happen as Google havent got their tech their yet!

      Ashley - You are a fraud mate, plain and simple

    9. Chris Southam on

      Is this related to the iPhone app that doesn't exist, or the bear that hasn't arrived?
      Or quite possibly both...