The interactive reading aloud experience. Chat. Play. Listen. In any language.

Adrian Jans

Marc Schade

Imagine that in 2035, pre-school children will have access to a personal reading assistant who will accompany them every day as they discover stories. How will this affect children's learning to read and language development?

The »talebuddy« project is researching the transformation of reading culture in 2035 and the integration of state-of-the-art technologies to promote reading skills in children.

As part of the project, an intelligent reading pen was developed that actively involves children in the reading process and supports them through multilingual dialogue-based reading aloud. The central question posed by the project was as follows: "How can reading culture be transformed and revolutionised for the year 2035 through interactive technologies?". The methods of "Design Futuring" made it possible to develop an innovative future scenario that takes future developments and their impact on the book industry into account.

Artefacts of the future

The »talebuddy« is the centrepiece of the »tale« brand. It brings the analogue and digital worlds together. It is equipped with a wide-angle camera with infrared light sensor, a vibration motor, microphone, loudspeaker, a powerful processor, gyro sensor, an LED ring, an NFC chip and a button for repeating what has been said. This enables the »talebuddy« to read aloud in multiple languages and in dialogue.

Illustration of the »talebuddy« | own illustration

Always present and playful: »talebuns« are attachments with a built-in NFC chip that can be purchased in addition to the »talebuddy«. In combination with the »talebuddy«, they allow you to experience the stories with the voice of the respective character.

Illustration of the »talebun« as an Olaf variant | own illustration

Energetic and loud: In combination with the »talebuddy«, the »talebrick« enables the auditory reception of stories as an audio book and also functions as a charging station for the »talebuddy«.

Illustration of the »talebrick« | own illustration

How the "talebuddy" works
To use it, all you have to do is hold it over a specific book. The »talebuddy« recognises the book and starts reading aloud immediately. It uses either the voice of a »talebun« or a self-generated voice and asks interactive questions to promote understanding of the text. The »talebuddy« has built-in speakers so that the audio output is clear and distinct. A companion app allows parents to track their child's progress, download new voices and customise settings such as language and volume. The ergonomic design ensures that the »talebuddy« sits comfortably in little hands and makes reading aloud an exciting and interactive experience.

Illustration of the »talebuddy« | own illustration
Illustration of the »talebuddy« | own illustration
Illustration of the »talebuddy« | own illustration
Illustration of the »talebuddy« | own illustration
Illustration of the »talebuns« | own illustration
Illustration of the »talebrick« | own illustration
Illustration of the »talebuddy« | own illustration