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Tech & Science Move Over, Alexa: This Smart Speaker Is Designed to Help You Learn Chinese

14:45  12 january  2019
14:45  12 january  2019 Source:   mentalfloss.com

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Move Over, Alexa: This Smart Speaker Is Designed to Help You Learn Chinese © Maybe Move Over, Alexa: This Smart Speaker Is Designed to Help You Learn Chinese The latest smart speaker technology isn’t designed to turn on your Wi-Fi-connected lights or help you figure out a wine pairing. Lily, a new smart speaker available now on Indiegogo, can help you learn Chinese writing and speaking “faster than anything on the market,” according to its creators.

The voice-controlled gadget is equipped with artificial intelligence that allows it to engage in real-time conversations, so beginning to advanced students can learn to speak the Chinese language Mandarin. It can correct pronunciation, perform translations, and help you learn vocabulary through interactive games, too. It helps you learn to write with an associated app where you can practice using both pinyin and Chinese characters. Lily’s curriculum can also prepare you for the HSK Chinese proficiency exams necessary to work or study in China.

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Designed by the language-learning company Maybe—which is based in San Francisco and Shenzhen—with Chinese tutors, the AI is engineered to recognize different accents, even if your pronunciation isn’t perfect.

Language learning is all about repetition, and unless you live in an area with a large Chinese population, you may not have much opportunity to practice your Mandarin in everyday life. A smart speaker like Lily can provide the next best thing by creating an immersion environment for you at home, putting it a step ahead of other language-learning apps like DuoLingo.

It’s currently only in the prototype stage, but it’s scheduled to ship by April 2019. As for other languages, the Lily team says that they hope to release software updates in the future that could give the speaker French and Spanish capabilities. (Once you have the speaker, you’ll be able to download any other languages that are released—you won’t have to buy a whole other language-specific speaker.)

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Move Over, Alexa: This Smart Speaker Is Designed to Help You Learn Chinese © Provided by The Week Publications A Lily speaker conversation illustrated with text bubbles that read 'Hey Lily, how do I introduce myself?' and '你好,你叫什麼名字' The smart speakers start at $149 for early-bird buyers, which may seem like a significant investment, until you start looking at the prices of even a few weeks of private language classes. Get yourself one on Indiegogo. And don't worry about it matching your home decor—it comes in red, white, black, blue, teal, and pink.

Lenovo crammed Google Assistant smarts into this adorable alarm clock.
Lenovo's new Smart Clock is a compact smart display with a 4-inch touchscreen and fabric cover, and it's designed to live on your nightstand. As you’d expect, you can use your voice or the screen to set alarms, play relaxing sounds or music to help you fall asleep, have it control connected gadgets like your lights and coffee maker, and see what time it is. It also packs a mute switch to turn off the mic, and there’s a USB port you can use to charge other devices, like your phone. With that feature set and a single 6W speaker, it’s essentially a good alternative to a Google Home speaker, which doesn’t have a screen.

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