Startup Roundup: Chatty Addie, iLineup HD 2.0 and MallStand

Photo: Chris Boraski's Chatty Addie app provides a virtual friend for kids. Photo Credit: Chatty Addie
Chris Boraski’s Chatty Addie app provides a virtual friend for kids. | Chatty Addie

Chatty Addie: Chris Boraski, cofounder of Princeton Tech Meetup, has released the first app from his company, InfAspire (Montgomery), to the app store. Called Chatty Addie, it provides youngsters ages 4 to 12 a “virtual friend” with which to talk and play games. Chatty Addie uses speech recognition and speech synthesis to create a two-way English conversation with a child, and it includes word and math games they can play together.

The iPad and iPhone versions “feel like having a FaceTime video call with a charming, beautifully animated character,” said Boraski, since the app takes advantage of the iPhone’s Retina display. He added that Chatty Addie has been self-funded, he is its sole creator and he has done all its programming (except for some third-party components, which are embedded in the app). It is available for 33 percent off for a limited time.

According to Boraski, Chatty Addie contains no ads, in-app purchases or pop-ups. No tapping is needed to continue conversations, so it can be used by children with a visual or touch impairment who can interact through speech.

Boraski told that the inspiration for Chatty Addie came when his 3-year-old daughter played with a talking app on an iPad. “The app repeated back what she said,” he explained, “but then she started asking the app questions. After a few copycat responses, she turned to me in frustration and asked, ‘Why won’t it answer me?’

“Siri had recently been released, and it seemed the timing was right to create an app where children can have full conversations with a charmingly animated character,” he continued.

Boraski has plans for expanded features including “Siri-like functionality to allow kids to ask about certain subjects and find out about them. There is a way to get a kid-safe, filtered version of Wikipedia, and I would plan to have Addie pull up entries from there and speak them,” he said, adding, “I also might put [in] a kid-safe image search if I can find a trustworthy source to use.” An app aimed at boys could be developed if the market warrants it.

iLineup HD 2.0: Craig Caruso, a familiar face in the N.J. tech community (he sometimes works from The (Co)Working Space in Woodbridge, attends tech meetups and advised the TechLaunch company LivinSport in 2012) whose company, CarusoApps, is located on Staten Island, released an update earlier this month to his sports app iLineup HD 2.0.

The app — redesigned from the ground up — allows baseball players, coaches, managers and fans to keep track of their favorite teams. iLineup HD 2.0 lets users quickly create a player lineup and enter player positions, batting order, numbers and substitutions. When the app is launched, a virtual diamond appears on the screen. Users tap each position to add the player and his number. On the Lineup screen, users can edit player information, rearrange positions and add substitutions. The app includes email, print, Facebook, and Twitter functionality. 

Caruso says iLineup HD 2.0 has improved with time thanks to his partnership with Sinecure Industries (Manville), which has redesigned the graphics to make the app more beautiful and easy to use.

MallStand: Hoboken-based MallStand has announced the start of its campaign Socials for a Cause, which offers social deals for charity. The Web and mobile e-commerce site, which launched in December 2012, is partnering with a local charity paired to a local business to bring customers discounted deals on goods and services. MallStand donates 100 percent of its commission revenue to the charity.

MallStand is operating in Hoboken and Jersey City. Havana Cafe and Lounge (Hoboken) is the first business to use the Socials for a Cause program in conjunction with the Jubilee Center, an organization that works with public schools to provide support and opportunities for children. In coming weeks, MallStand expects to feature a deal from One Podiatry in Jersey City, which will team with AngelaCARES, an organization that advocates for and supports senior citizens.

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