Smart home voice assistants, like the Amazon Echo and Google Home, are very useful devices — and not just for adults. Kids, with their agile and malleable minds, adapt quickly to new technology, and there is a good chance your children are using Alexa or Siri more than you are. They’re most likely just using those services to play their favorite songs or ask the questions kids love to ask, but privacy is still a concern. That’s why Chatterbox is designed to prioritize kids’ privacy.
Chatterbox will be launching on Kickstarter soon, but is already starting to generate some buzz in the media. It’s a home voice assistant with capabilities similar to the Amazon Echo, but offers two features that you won’t find in a typical voice assistant. The first is that Chatterbox comes as DIY kit that kids can assemble and even program themselves. The second is that it puts privacy first, which means you don’t have to worry about some corporation gathering data about your children.
It’s able to do that because it doesn’t rely on the voice services provided by Amazon or Google. Instead it uses Mycroft, which is an open-source voice assistant that was independently developed specifically to ensure that users’ privacy would be protected. Mycroft runs on a Raspberry Pi housed inside of Chatterbox, and the service is only “listening” when your child pushes the physical button on top. After assembling Chatterbox, kids will be able to program it and customize it with their own voice skills.
Chatterbox will be launching on Kickstarter on April 30th, and the suggested retail price will be $179. Though you can likely expect a hefty discount through the Kickstarter campaign.