monom develops Pechat button to enable teddies to “talk”

Mar. 14, 2016
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Tokyo—March 14, 2016—monom, a product innovation team at Hakuhodo Inc. (Minato-ku, Tokyo; Hirokazu Toda, President & CEO), Japan’s second largest advertising company, has created its third independently developed product: a button-shaped speaker called “Pechat” that gives teddies everywhere the power to talk.

Pechat is a button-shaped speaker jointly developed by monom with HACKist, a digital creative lab of Hakuhodo DY Group company Hakuhodo i-studio. Attach Pechat to your child’s favorite teddy, control it with the dedicated smartphone app, and the teddy really seems to talk. Pechat can be used in many different ways. Share secrets with your child. Sing songs together. Suggest she take a nap. Read him a story. This next-generation toy is a new communication tool for parents and kids and a fun parenting aid.

Pechat is being exhibited and demonstrated in the Hakuhodo booth at the South by Southwest (SXSW) 2016 Trade Show, a technology startup event taking place from March 13 in Texas, USA.

monom is a Hakuhodo project team devoted to coming up with groundbreaking product ideas that bring existing technology and people together. It will continue to focus on devising products like this that open up new markets and new vistas in life.

Main features of Pechat
With the dedicated smartphone app, you can get teddy to speak using four modes:

• Voice Chat
Converts what the user says to a cute-sounding voice.
• Text Chat
Reads out input text in a cute-sounding voice using a high-quality voice-synthesis engine.
• Tap Chat
Lets you play prerecorded phrases, songs, and stories by selecting them on the screen.
• Auto Chat
Automatically responds to or mimics what your child says.

Text Chat mode, in which input text is read out in a cute-sounding voice, incorporates the high-quality voice-synthesis engine AITalk® developed by AI Inc.

Other features of Pechat
Smart Voice Change: Converts speech to the same cute tone of voice, whoever is speaking.
Crying Detector: Detects when your child is crying and alerts your smartphone.
Alarm: Tells your child it’s time to get up or go out in words of your choice.

Specifications
• Basic components: Speaker, microphone, Bluetooth, lithium-ion battery
• Dimensions: 50 mm wide by 15 mm thick
• Connectivity: The Pechat speaker is connected to your smartphone by Bluetooth and can be controlled from a distance of up to approx. 10 m.
• Attachment method: Sew on with thread or affix with a safety pin.

Special Website
The Pechat project website is being launched on March 14. The site carries details about the product and features a video about the concept behind it.
Address: http://pechat.jp/

Availability
Pechat is a concept model, and there are not yet any plans to commercialize and release it. Development work is under way with the goal of eventually going commercial.

About monom (http://mono-m.jp/)
monom is a Hakuhodo product innovation team dedicated to forging new lifestyle ideas and opening up new markets by applying technology to everyday objects. Its lineup of design, technology, marketing, and business professionals come up with groundbreaking product ideas by pooling their creative talents. The team has independently developed two products to date: iDoll, a robotic doll that fits in the palm of the hand, and Memory Clock, an IoT timepiece that connects families. monom is also responsible for the product design of Lyric Speaker, a speaker that displays the words of songs, and the Write More study board, which makes it easier to concentrate on studying.

About HACKist (http://hackist.jp/)
HACKist, a collective-of-the-willing project team made up of creatives and engineers at Hakuhodo i-studio, uses technology to transform the sundry phenomena of everyday life and challenges facing society. It designs and produces prototypes that appeal to all the senses. Based on the concept of Metamorphic Prototyping, which involves technologically optimizing prototypes to various needs, HACkist creates devices combining its own original platforms and sensors and develops apps synched with them. By applying visual coding languages like WebGL, openFrameworks, and Unity, it also devises new advertising models, stage-manages events, and develops innovative products. And the scope of its activities is still expanding.

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