/// Inside ToyTalk, the Startup That Wants to Bring Toys to Life

February 14, 2013  |  All Things Digital


One of the great promises of technology products is to push forward both art and science together. But all too often that just means nice design in a gadget, or nifty effects in a performance. Norma Cordova Team ToyTalk, with CEO Oren Jacobs at front left, outside their office in San Francisco. A startup called Toytalk seems to be setting itself up to transcend that multidisciplinary barrier, especially given its two founders’ pedigrees at Pixar (Oren Jacob was CTO there) and SRI (Martin Reddy researched artificial intelligence there before joining Pixar as well). Later this year, ToyTalk plans to release an iPad app starring a character named Winston that converses with children. I had a chance to tour the ToyTalk office and sit down with Jacob last week. His simplest description of the startup’s project: “We’re building an entertainment company on the back of synthesized conversation.” The actual ToyTalk app will be an episodic variety show in the style of “The Muppet Show,” starring Winston and other characters, Jacob said. Kids will be able to join the show by turning their cameras on. “Imagine if you could Skype with Bugs Bunny,” Jacob said

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Inside ToyTalk, the Startup That Wants to Bring Toys to Life


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