TOKYO: Toys from Japanese toymaker Takara Tomy often have a technological side, such as a photo sticker booth with a time-travel mode that takes you back to the 1990s or a dancing Pikachu robot. Takara Tomy’s latest creation, however, is especially high-tech.
The name Coemo is a pun on Koe, the Japanese word for “voice.” So what does the egg-shaped device do? It tells stories to your children, using your voice, even if you have never said the words of the story yourself.
It does this through an artificial intelligence system that synthesizes your voice, then combines inflection and intonation to bring the right emotion to the stories it tells. To set things up, he first uses the Koe Station smartphone app and records his voice by reading a sample text passage. Supplied with the audio sample, Koe Station can create a vocal profile for you, which it then exports to the Ceomo app and sends to the Coemo device.
The app also allows you to select one of the 45 stories that Coemo comes preloaded with, including original stores and fairy tales and popular stories from both Japan and abroad, such as “Momotaro/Peach Boy,” “Little Red Riding Hood” and “The Three Little Pigs.” Once you have recorded your voice and selected a story, the AI generates a narration from your voice profile, which is played on the device’s speakers. You can even record multiple voices with a single Coemo, allowing you to assign grandma, grandpa, or other family members who have created a voice profile as the narrator of different stories.