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Kadho debuts Kidsense A.I., offline speech-recognition tech that understand kids

Kadho, a company building automatic speech recognition technology to help children communicate with voice-powered devices, is officially exiting stealth today at TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2018 where it’s launching its new technology, Kidsense Edge voice A.I. The company claims its technology can better decode kids’ speech as it was built using speech data from 150,000 children’s voices. The COPPA-compliant solution, which is initially targeting the voice-enabled devices and voice-enabled toys market, is already being used by paying customers. As anyone with an Echo smart speaker or Google Home can tell you, today’s devices often struggle to understand children’s voices. That’s because current automatic speech recognition technology has been built for adults and was trained on adult voice data. Kidsense.ai, meanwhile, was built for kids using voices of children from different age groups and speaking different languages. By doing so, it believes it can outperform the big players in the market like Google, Samsung, Baidu, Amazon, and Microsoft, when it comes to understanding children’s speech, the company says. The company behind the Kidsense AI technology, Kadho, has been around since 2014, and was originally founded by PhDs with backgrounds in A.I. and neuroscience, Kaveh Azartash (CEO) and Dhonam Pemba (Chief Scientist). Chief Revenue Officer, Jock Thompson, is a third co-founder today. Initially, the company’s focus was on building conversational-based language learning applications for kids. “But the biggest pain point that we encountered…was that the devices that we were using or apps on – either mobile phones, tablets, robotics, or smart speakers  – they’re not built to understand kids,” explains Azartash. He means the speech recognition technology wasn’t built on kids’ data. “They’re not designed to communicate or understand kids.” The team realized there was a bigger problem to solve. Teaching kids new language using conversational techniques couldn’t work until devices could actually understand the kids. The company shifted to focus instead on speech recognition technology, using a data set of kids voices (which it did with parents’ consent, we’re told), to build Kidsense. The initial product was a server-based solution called Kidsense cloud AI in late 2017. But more recently, it’s been working on…

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