Sensory Inc. may stay behind the scenes most of the time, but the company's speech recognition chips are already used in toys from JVC, Mattel, Hasbro and others, and it's now announced a new chip that could lead to toys with some significantly improved capabilities. Costing just $2 apiece (in quantities over 100K/year), the company's NLP-5X chip not only boasts support for speech recognition and text-to-speech that lets it "generate thousands of voices on the fly," but support for sound samples and MIDI playback as well. What's more, the chip uses what's described as an "incredible algorithm" that allows it to be on all the time and simply listen and activate itself when needed -- or when you least suspect it. Of course, while toys are one application, the company also sees the chip being used in a whole range of other consumer electronics -- Sensory even gives the example of an internet-connected oven that could let look up a recipe and then have a conversation with your oven about how you'd like to cook it.

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$2 Sensory chip could give toys (and other products) improved speech recognition, additional capabilities