Husband and wife team Matt and Melissa Hammersley of Olympia, Washington are the founders of Novel Effect, a story time reading app. The graphic designer and patent attorney couple describe their product as “a hi-tech way to make kids’ story time more magical.” They’re pitching Novel Effect on Shark Tank (October 29). The Hammersleys are seeking $500,000 in exchange for 10 percent equity. The Novel Effect app uses voice recognition to perfectly sync theme music, sound effects, and character voices in real time. For example, if you read the line “A wolf was howling,” the sound effect of a wolf howling will be heard. There are several studies that suggest that reading literature boosts one’s creativity and helps people become more open-minded and empathetic to others. Former President Barack Obama notably credited reading novels with helping him learn empathy and how to “become a citizen.”
So will a soundtrack inspired by Paris like the one Novel Effect provides help your little one relate to Madeline when the title character is hospitalized in France? Je ne sais pas! One thing is for sure, Novel Effect is already getting great press. Just a week before the Shark Tank episode airs, CNBC’s Deirdre Bosa demonstrated the app on TV at the Amazon Alexa Lab where the company tests Alexa-enabled devices, technology and products including Novel Effect (video below). You can download the Novel Effect app for free online. Shark Tank airs Sundays at 9pm on ABC.