Connect with us


Learn Chinese at home with Lily, a smart speaker that has raised more than $1 million on Indiegogo



Just to let you know, if you buy something featured here, Mashable might earn an affiliate commission.
Lily is an AI-enabled smart speaker that makes it easier to learn Mandarin.
Lily is an AI-enabled smart speaker that makes it easier to learn Mandarin.

Image: Lily

Alexa and other virtual assistants changed how you shop online and watch TV. However, the makers of the Lily smart speaker think you might as well learn Chinese the next time you ask for today’s weather. After a successful initial campaign on Indiegogo, where the campaign demolished it’s funding goal and raised more than $1 million, you can still back them and be one of the first to own it. 

Available exclusively for preorders on Indiegogo starting at $149, Lily is a collaboration between machine learning engineers and Chinese language learners that believe a smart speaker can do more than just play music and create shopping lists. 

It’s difficult to learn any language, so Lily focuses on an immersive experience rather than textbooks and audio lessons. With a smart speaker that you place in your living room or anywhere, the Lily AI makes it easier to learn a difficult language through regular conversations. Only now you don’t have to spend months or even years studying abroad to get that level of immersion and daily practice.

Interactive conversations with the Lily voice AI helps you grasp the finer points of Mandarin Chinese vocabulary, grammar, and precise pronunciation. For example, you can ask Lily how to greet someone and ask her to repeat herself to get the correct intonations. The precision of her speech is thanks to high-quality audio technology developed by audio engineers with experience working for Harman and JBL. That experience in engineering for music is what helps Lily provide rich vocals and a dynamic range to make sure you hear the subtle details in your lessons.  

Not only can you ask for an instant translation, you can use the mobile app to see how to correct your speech and learn Pinyin or Chinese characters. A further breakdown for each word or phrase gives you the ability to further adjust your accent so you sound more like an experienced student. And the creators of Lily promise that all levels of experience, from beginners to advanced speakers, receive customized lessons to match your progress and follows the standards of the HSK Chinese Proficiency Test. This also means Lily has an intuitive AI that recognizes your Chinese even if your pronunciation is a little rough around the edges. 

Watch this video by the creators to get a better idea of how you can work with Lily:

Lily is designed to bridge the gap between quality language lessons with at-home convenience. Besides lessons and vocabulary games for all ages, Lily will have similar functions to any other smart speaker if you want to listen to music or set alarms. 

The first round of Lily speakers are expected to ship in March if you decide to become an early backer now. Once the current prototypes are shipped, Lily’s creators will focus on new languages such as French and Spanish. If you own a Lily, they promise you only need to update your software for free to get any new languages. After that, vocabulary flash cards might become a thing of the past. 

Continue Reading
Advertisement Find your dream job