NEW YORK—May 28, 2014—Majestyk Apps announced today it has been selected from more than 3,000 submissions as a finalist in the IBM Watson Mobile Developer Challenge based upon the firm’s future-thinking proposal dubbed Fang (Friendly Anthropomorphic Networked Genome). Fang is an artificially intelligent, cuddly plush companion for children capable of answering questions posed in natural language, learning from natural dialog, and interacting and reasoning with its human counterpart.
In conjunction with the Watson Mobile Developer’s Challenge, which was launched at this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, IBM invited teams from around the globe to design apps that harness the Watson supercomputer’s cognitive computing capabilities on smartphones and other mobile devices. IBM will announce three penultimate winners on June 3, each of which will join the IBM Ecosystem program and receive assistance from Big Blue to turn their ideas into commercial applications.
Fang was among entrants which included apps that let you speak to an avatar of a famous person, interact remotely with physicians, improve personal fitness, and provide advice to expectant mothers. Hundreds of submissions were previously narrowed down to 25 semi-finalists from which a short list was then hand-selected by IBM. The final winners will be awarded with access to the Watson API to build, train and test their apps, along with consulting from IBM’s interactive design services.
“Artificial Intelligence is about to disrupt education. Learning in the 21st Century will be built on the premise of human-machine entanglement, and while most mobile applications don’t have the computing power to handle natural language processing and AI models, Watson makes it all possible,” said Donald Coolidge, co-founder and CEO at Majestyk Apps. “Fang will use the power of Watson to leverage deep analytics and cognitive technologies to open up actionable, personalized education and learning pathways for children.”
Fang, the toy of the next generation, will create a tailored experience for each user through a series of contextual, customized interactions that apply advanced natural language processing, information retrieval, knowledge representation, automated and machine learning technologies to produce a seamless exploratory dialog. Infused with the power of Watson to analyze, self-configure and self-organize complex input gained from interactions with its user, Fang will tacitly and semi-tacitly adapt over time to grow with each individual child. The Majestyk team envisions pairing the lovable toy with a tablet for a multisensory educational experience integrated with custom, Fang-enabled mobile apps.
“Combined with traditional teaching methods, we envision Fang helping children of all ages become more interconnected, interactive and immersed in the learning process,” said Damion Hänkejh, chief technology officer at Majestyk Apps. “The reality is that Watson-enabled apps have the potential to radically change just about everything we take for granted about education. With Watson at its heart, Fang will help teachers rethink the entire learning equation and transform the way they pursue a variety of learning objectives.”
Sean O’Shea, the company’s co-founder and chief development officer commented, “Once Fang has been introduced there will be no turning back to a conventional classroom setting. But while a plush toy brings a sense of wonder to children, as they move into their teen and young adult years they will demand something that continues to meet their learning needs yet is more age appropriate. We envisage leveraging our technical expertise and commercial success with children to deepen and extend the Fang experience with a collection of wearables aimed at an older demographic.”
In later iterations of Fang, a dashboard will let parents and teachers participate in and encourage a child’s growth. Graphed performance covering a child’s interaction with the toy, comprehension levels across topics, and metrics such as the number of words a child has been exposed to and used will provide invaluable feedback for directing the educational paths for which each individual child is predisposed to succeed.
In the field of education, classrooms will be able to utilize Fang and similar Watson-enabled platforms to run on the basis of a thorough knowledge of each student’s abilities and difficulties, providing teachers with the ability to change where students learn, who teaches them, and how they acquire the skills they need.
About Majestyk Apps Majestyk Apps is a curator of the digital experience, providing mobile app development, Web design and mobile product strategy and services to create integrated brand presences which work across multiple platforms and impart a memorable impression on consumers. Generating ideas and insight amplified by an unequaled mastery of mobile technology, the firm’s award-winning work has propelled a panoply of iconic clients forward—from Disney, Standard & Poors and Shodogg, to Ruckus, Simplexo and Wicked Cool Toys. Majestyk Apps is based in New York City and led by a team of future-thinkers who help companies embrace the new mobile reality at the speed of the Web. For more information visit majestykapps.com.