There has been a new trend in toys for the past couple of years that includes various forms of voice recognition software. Voice recognition technology has always, at least in my personal experience, been a hit or miss proposition. It has definitely gotten better in recent years, but how does it perform on a budget? These new toys have to include stripped down, cost effective versions of voice recognition so that they can sell the units at a reasonable price.
My seven-year-old daughter has one of these kid gadgets. She has the Radica Girl Tech Password Journal. Girls just love journals and diaries so this seems at first glance to be a great idea. Instead of using a key to enter their journal they use a voice password. Even if little brother discovers the password the journal uses voice recognition to recognize just who is entering the password.
How does it perform? Miserably! This thing is a parent’s worst nightmare. For starters kids that age have a hard time speaking something in the same tone twice. You have to speak the password two times so the software can compare both and be sure that it’s the same password and/or person. Plus with the cheaper version of voice recognition it doesn’t do all that great a job of recognizing anything. One time I actually spoke the password in a falsetto voice and got it to open. Now I know I don’t sound like a seven-year-old girl… at least I hope I don’t. Most of the time the unit won’t accept any password at all and so it just sounds the intruder alert. My daughter AND wife get increasingly frustrated with the thing after several hard resets and it still won’t work.
Conclusion… this thing is an utter headache. If your child wants a journal, just stick with the old fashioned kind for now. Do any of you have any similar experiences with voice recognition toys? Did you have a good experience or bad? I’d like to hear about any of them in the comments section below. Thanks for stopping by my blog!