We're excited to release “Talk to Santa Cat” this week, a holiday-themed mobile app designed to bring festive cheer to families and children. Featuring an AI-powered animated cat in Santa's workshop, the app lets children engage in live, voice-driven conversations with Santa Cat, adding a sprinkle of holiday magic to your family's celebrations.
The app mimics a video call to the North Pole. Just turn on your microphone and you'll connect with Santa Cat, who asks what you're hoping to get for Christmas this year. These chats, often filled with lots of fun, charm, and humor, are driven by advanced LLM (Large Language Model) technologies, ensuring each interaction is uniquely engaging.
Creating Santa Cat for families
Designed by Daily engineers who are also parents, Santa Cat sets out to be a safe and family-friendly experience. We fine-tuned the AI components so the app is both imaginative and age-appropriate, providing a space where children can safely immerse themselves in the wonders of the holiday season.
Originally, we developed the experience as a fun proof of concept. We started using it with our own families, and experienced how fun it was to share with our kids and nephews and nieces. We thought it'd be fun to put it out in the world, to share some holiday cheer.
The app is designed with the highest level of privacy. It does not require a phone number or login information, nor does it record video or audio. It contains no ad monetization or ad analytics tracking.
Alongside creating a neat experience for families, we instead mostly built this app as a showcase for the sorts of AI experiences developers can build.
We'd love for you to share your favorite Santa Cat moments with us, either directly or on social media! Please tag us!
How does it work?
There's a lot that goes into humans having a conversation! Getting an AI-powered virtual character to sound natural, in a live voice conversation, represents several technological challenges.
Key among these are ensuring speed of transport, accuracy in Speech-To-Text (STT) and Text-To-Speech (TTS) inferences. Developers also optimize apps for real world conditions, where there's a wide range of devices and connectivity environments. We've written about this before — read a technical deep dive here.
Voice-driven virtual characters like Santa Cat also have to accommodate natural conversational elements, like interruptions, pauses, and varying speech patterns, especially with children. Engineers need to consider advanced voice activity detection (VAD), 'barge-in' interruption capabilities, and the fine-tuning of transcription models to handle diverse and spontaneous speech patterns effectively.
Of course, all of these things must happen really fast, accurately and be ready to scale to a large number of users. There’s an awful lot for engineers to consider, even if it doesn’t seem immediately obvious.
How Daily is making it easier for developers to build live virtual characters
The easiest way to get started building AI apps on Daily today is by taking a look at our StoryBot repo here. Inspired by projects such as LangChain and LlamaIndex, we’re currently evolving this repo into a new open-source framework, which handles the hard parts in a highly configurable and pluggable way. Stay tuned for more on that soon.
If you’d like to learn more about how Talk to Santa Cat was made, or are interested in learning more about Daily’s AI toolkits for voice and video, we'd love to hear from you! Please reach out to us or head on over to developer community peerConnection.