Infant Talk boxes?

January 30th, 2022
ideas, kids, music, tech
I often play music with Nora (7M) sitting on my lap, and she loves to play with my talk box tube:


(youtube)

This is just something we do for fun, but it makes me wonder: could this sort of play help babies learn to talk sooner?

A talk box is a speaker with a tube that pipes its sound into your mouth. You use your mouth to filter the incoming audio, emphasizing some frequencies relative to others, and then you and others hear the modified sound. In music this can be used to make an instrument appear to talk/sing, or it can be used a bit like a wah-wah, to dynamically adjust the tone.

Now, this is very speculative and probably wrong, but here's my idea for how it might help a baby practice talking. What if most of the time in learning how to talk is learning how to shape the sounds with your mouth? Babies babble a lot, limited by some combination of vocal cord stamina and interest, but having some talk box time could let them get in additional practice?

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