Novel Effect Adds Dynamic Soundtrack as it Listens to Picture Book Readers

“It’s an unusual application for voice recognition, but one for which the technology is well-suited, assessing the unique characteristics of a reader’s voice to provide the appropriate soundtrack for whatever is happening in the story.”

Novel Effect Adds Dynamic Soundtrack as it Listens to Picture Book Readers

A novel idea for voice recognition technology is gaining traction with the news that digitally enhanced storytelling startup Novel Effect has just closed a $3 million series-A funding round.

The app is designed to play ambient music and sound effects as parents or other caregivers read books aloud to kids, with the music and sounds dynamically changing depending on the part of the book being read. It’s an unusual application for voice recognition, but one for which the technology is well-suited, assessing the unique characteristics of a reader’s voice to provide the appropriate soundtrack for whatever is happening in the story.

Having been a part of the inaugural Alexa Accelerator and later won a Webby Award for its ingenious idea, Novel Effect has now attracted considerable investments series-A leaders Alpha Edison, TenOneTen Ventures, and Waverley Capital, with additional contributions from Amazon, Angel Investors, Lux Capital, Maveron, and McCune Capital. (And all this despite not getting any backing from a Shark Tank appearance!)

The Novel Effect app currently has over a hundred options to choose from, the majority being picture books. But Novel Effect CEO Matt Hammersley said in a statement that this “awareness of and commitment to voice-first technology promises to be a game-changer across all categories of entertainment – books, movies, television, game play and more,” suggesting that the app may hear many more voices telling different kinds of stories in the future.

Sources: GeekWire, Forbes