Novel Effect Launches Immersive Children’s iOS App

Novel Effect, app, audio, children, children's booksNovel Effect, a startup based out of Seattle, WA, has launched a new iOS app for children’s books that uses voice recognition to add movie-style audio in real time.

As the book is read aloud, the app uses patent-pending technology to add music and sound effects that sync up with the text, like an orchestra playing behind the reader.

“Novel Effect was founded to inspire a new generation of readers,” said Matt Hammersley, co-founder and CEO of Novel Effect. “In today’s world, books struggle to compete against video games and TV, which do little for brain development, language skills and literacy. With Novel Effect, we’ve turned the act of reading into the game.”

“This is just the beginning of an entirely new genre of content,” Hammersley continued. “From here, we are engaging with partners in publishing, education, and film to bring voice reactive media experiences to the market.”

The app is free for a limited time and is available on all iOS devices. An Android app is currently in development and expected later this year.

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6 thoughts on “Novel Effect Launches Immersive Children’s iOS App

  1. Michael W. Perry

    Sounds like a marvelous app, but parents should keep in mind what research says about media impact on small children. From the NY Post:

    In an article in the Journal of Children and Media, researchers at Texas Tech and the University of Oregon report the results of a study on 127 preschoolers who watched various episodes of the cartoon (which is a spinoff of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood”). They found that watching the show “was associated with higher levels of empathy, but only for preschoolers” whose parents interacted with them in productive ways about the show.

    Parents are supposed to sit with their children during the show and “try to help your child integrate what they learn … into their own life,” “ask your child questions about what they are watching,” “repeat dialogue your child heard,” “point out the good things that characters do,” “tell your child that you agree with the message,” “encourage your child to imitate the behavior of characters” and on and on.

    Rachel Barr, a professor of psychology at Georgetown, says the notion that young children need parents around in order to gain any real emotional or cognitive benefits from technology has been borne out by other studies as well.

    In her own work with infants and toddlers, she has found that a parent’s presence can more than double the chances that a child figures out a task on a touch screen and a parent who is “warm and responsive and sensitive and uses clear language” can increase the likelihood of success even more.

    Don’t let media, however clever, substitute for spending time with your kids while they read and watch. Use this app as a tool not a be-all and end-all. It can’t replace you.

    1. Matt

      Thanks for this info Michael – but I think you misunderstand what the app does. It is a screen free experience that uses PRINT books. You set your device aside, and read with your child. It hears you reading the text and perfectly synchronizes theme music and sound effects to the story. As you mention, it does not replace the parent (storyteller) but rather gives them a tool to make the experience magical.



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