Sesame Workshop is teaming up with family entertainment company ToyTalk for a two-year research programme into speech recognition for early learning.
The partnership agreement will allow the firms to explore the potential for conversation between children and the characters they love, to advance literacy learning among pre-school aged children.
ToyTalk's PullString Technology will be used - the first authoring environment for building speech-driven games and stories with interactive characters.
"Today, speech recognition is primarily a tool of convenience and utility," said Miles Ludwig, MD, Content Innovation Lab, Sesame Workshop. "But what if parents could use speech recognition to engage their children in a content experience? What if children could have a two-way conversation in real-time with some of their favourite characters?
"Working with ToyTalk, which has developed unique solutions to the obstacles that previously made understanding kids' speech difficult, if not impossible, we can develop new approaches to early literacy learning for children."
Oren Jacob, CEO and co-founder of ToyTalk, added: "Sesame has been a force in children's entertainment and education like no other and we've admired the company for decades, so to have this research partnership come to fruition is really something of a dream come true."