February 6, 2014
Just before The 2014 International CES took place this year, Charmtech Labs released their Capti Narrator in Stony Brook, New York. Coming out of the Center for Excellence in Wireless and Information Technology incubator at Stony Brook University, Capti is a cross-platform application for hands-free consumption of digital content.
That is, Capti is a program designed specifically to read your webpages, documents, and ebooks with a naturally-sounding text-to-speech voice. Under the guide of Dr. Yvgen Borodin, Capti has been able to maintain a strong focus on what they feel is incredibly important: keeping the voice sounding natural.
Through direct partnerships with leaders in speech synthesis like Ivona, Acapela Group, and NeoSpeech, Charmtech has been able to offer Capti in over two dozen English-speaking voices. Users can then choose what suits them best: American, British, Australian, and Indian accents to name a few.
This choice is one of Charmtech’s underlying successes. Throughout the course of their building, they have tried to include as many different groups as possible and not rule anybody out.
“We want Capti to be usable to the maximum extent possible by everyone regardless of their age, ability, or circumstance,” says Borodin. “People are becoming more mobile. They want to be productive. They want to be connected. They are relying more on digital assistants.”
To that end, Charmtech has designed Capti for two-fold usage. On the one hand, you have everyday use, but on the other, they have successfully brought in the thoughts, feelings, and needs of disabled people who could benefit from a platform like this. People who are blind, have impaired vision, or have a cognitive disability can use it just as easily as somebody running on the treadmill at the gym.
“In the world that is overwhelmed with information, people now spend numerous hours in front of the computer screen,” says Borodin. “Even on the go, they often feel the urge to read from the small screens of smartphones, but they are still unable to keep up with the flood of information.”
As the company has grown, marketing has proven to be a substantial challenge. But adhering to the philosophy that anybody, anywhere can use Capti, they are already starting to tackle that issue. And when you pair that with the fact that they have minimal competition, you can see how Charmtech is excited to keep Capti relevant.
Fudning was also another major hurdle, but Charmtech recently received $1.5 million in SBIR grant funding to keep growing their platform. Additionally, they made it to The 2014 International CES and got to show their product off only a few days after launch.
Any way you spin it, the team over at Charmtech Labs is working hard to distinguish themselves, not just as a successful company, but a good company. And they are climbing toward becoming an all-around solid startup via strong usability, product reliability, and an innovative mindset.
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