My three-year-old daughter Chloe is the inspiration of my submission to the Alexa Kids Skill Challenge. She has a learning disability that makes learning simple vocabulary an extraordinary task. Kid Quest is designed to entertain her with an interactive game to keep her attention while also challenging her with questions that affect the storyline. I hope that with each episode published her world expands.
Kid Quest is an episodic interactive storyline centered on quests for the child. The application is invoked with the phrase Alexa, start kid quest. Each scene includes one or more questions that drive the storyline. At least one of those questions tests the child’s vocabulary, spelling, or memory skills. Throughout the quest, the child’s progress is saved and may be returned to continue or restart the episode. This release includes episode one. A new episode will be released at the end of each month.
The skill was designed using Amazon Lex then exported to Amazon’s Alexa framework. The backend application runs on AWS Lambda using my company’s new Aria framework – a poly-conversational management API - that manages session, dialog, and user interaction. This framework may be used with all Alexa skills designed for sequential cause-and-effect dialog interactions with dialog maps stored in a relational or graph database.
One of the greatest challenges I discovered was keeping the attention of my test subject. A simple Alexa skill would not suffice. I had to use a number of ancillary services to generate varying personas and sound effects while carefully weaving in educational content. With that said, I am proud of the product and storyline I designed for children.
Each month I plan on publishing a new storyline that will introduce the child to a new world with new experiences and new challenges. I also plan on introducing additional personalities to increase the complexity of the dialog interaction to keep the child multitasking. My goal is to publish at minimum twelve episodes with varying degrees of difficulty. The next episode has a due date of January 31.