Written by David Ngo

Feb 24, 2020
8 MIN READ

Houndify at Stanford TreeHacks 2020: Students Innovate with Voice

The annual TreeHacks marathon has come and gone, with over 1000 student hackers from 73 top universities descending upon Stanford University’s campus to face difficult challenges. With $30,000 worth of hardware and software to choose from, these talented students invented products that would solve specific challenges in a variety of areas, including medical access, education, and more. With a lab full of tools, mentors from several companies, access to technology, and only thirty-six hours to transform ideas into something tangible, the students were told to, “Hack the future. Create a brighter world. Dream up the unimaginable. And do the impossible.”

SoundHound Inc. sponsored TreeHacks this year by providing participants access to our Voice AI developer platform, Houndify. Students could also ask questions and converse with our voice engineers to gain a deeper understanding of voice technology and its potential. By the end of the arduous weekend, over 25 groups had implemented a voice user interface with Houndify in their innovative, on-the-fly products. These projects were designed to assist users in various industries, ranging from virtual coaching, to education to hospital care. After careful consideration, our engineers chose three top projects that best used and represented Houndify. Each winner went on to receive a Houndify subscription and cash prize to continue the development of their product.

Here are the winners of the Stanford Treehacks Houndify competition:

3rd Place: Eloquent Learning

This product was inspired by the notion that nobody really likes public speaking or at least, that public speaking is a difficult task for many people. Using Houndify to help transcribe the user’s speech into text along with improving accuracy based on listening for keywords, Eloquent Learning was developed to help individuals improve their speaking skills.

Through the app, users can import audio speeches or even choose to ad-lib their own speech as the app listens. When the speaker is finished, Eloquent Learning provides notes on specific areas of improvement — such as increasing or decreasing speed, adjusting the formality of their language, and eliminating unnecessary filler words. Not only that, users can create flashcard sets to help break down their speech into questions and answers, allowing them to practice speaking at a slower, more methodical pace.

Learn more about Eloquent Learning

2nd Place: GAiN a Friend

Developed by an all-female team of engineers, GAiN a Friend was created to help combat the major issue of loneliness among the senior population. A speech-driven video chat service powered by Houndify and Generative Adversarial Networks (GAN), this product works by helping the user select a computer-generated human face and voice that they resonate with most. After the persona is selected, the user can interact with the new entity at any time.

How GAiN a Friend works

With the goal of serving the older generation, this team hopes to further develop GAiN to have a more accessible design. In doing so, the product could evolve from a device used at home to an assistant used by professionals working within the field of mental health and geriatric care.

Learn more about GAiN A Friend

1st Place: Waitless

This team of developers took inspiration from the simple fact that no one likes to wait for anything. Based on the premise of impatience and the goal of less wasted time, the team turned their attention to the hospital setting, where waiting creates anxiety and dissatisfaction for patients — and Waitless was created.

Rather than sit in a hospital waiting room for hours, Waitless allows users to upload their medical history and current symptoms of their unknown illness through a conversational AI — powered by Houndify.

The voice assistant assigns the user a category of ‘mild,’ ‘moderate,’ or ‘critical,’ and organizes this information through a virtual queue. Based on this hierarchical information, hospitals are able to bring in patients with greater efficiency based on a balanced ranking system.The ranking system also makes the process more transparent to patients and alleviates the frustration of waiting without understanding why they aren’t top priority.

Learn more about Waitless here

The Future, Powered by Houndify

With so many young, bright developers taking the helm for the future, we’re excited to see what they have in store for us next in terms of voice AI. All of the teams that implemented the Houndify Voice AI platform have developed ideas with enormous potential to help the world. The best thing we can do is continue supporting and pushing them to reach even greater heights.

To learn more about how developers can use the Houndify independent Voice AI platform to bring the power of voice to any product or app, visit our website at www.houndify.com

David Ngo is a Silicon Valley-based writer who covers tech and culture. An avid story seeker, he has a strong disposition for heartfelt speeches and sarcasm.

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