Market Overview

Students designing for real-world problems inspires startup Botsociety--backed by the Google Assistant Investment program--to build free education program


Students designing for real-world problems inspires startup Botsociety--backed by the Google Assistant Investment program--to build free education program

Projects by Brown University, NYU, and RISD, designed with Botsociety, inspired the initiative

PR Newswire

SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 29, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Students around the world have been doing a lot more than simply ordering a frappuccino using their voice assistants and chatbots. Some of the leading research institutions are using Botsociety to design conversational experiences that power functional, highly technical and other research-related tasks. These are not your typical bots. Tiffany Chen is a UX Designer on Microsoft's inclusive design team and recent graduate of Brown University's computer science program.">

Meet Tiffany, who used Botsociety to prototype the voice experience for a smart pillow. Tiffany Chen is a recent 2018 Brown University Computer Science graduate that recently began her new job at Microsoft last week on their inclusive design team. Before graduating, Tiffany worked on a thesis project where she designed a smart pillow capable of recording sleep patterns and providing suggestions and recommendations. The pillow is controlled using a voice user interface and can be operated with voice commands.

[Video available here:]

"This combination of building and creating more intelligent software is really powerful. So this research makes it so that we can actually have physical products that actually help us throughout our lives," Brown University Assistant Professor Jeff Huang explained in an interview.

Brown isn't the only university working on exciting ways to implement some of these newer technologies. Sophia Lu, a learning experience designer at NYU used Botsociety to prototype a chatbot that connects economically disadvantaged high school youth to high achieving college students. Jennifer Spatz, a recent masters of Industrial Design graduate at Rhode Island School of Design gave the following quote—

"I think that VUIs and chatbots are really exciting spaces to be working in because they are really one of the first spaces where universal design is expressing itself digitally. We have websites that have been coded to be conducive to screen reader usage and physical tools that help handicapped people to operate computers. But really these are add-ons to a system that has been designed essentially for sighted, able-bodied people. I think that VUIs are really one of the first places in digital technology where both disabled and abled people are being included from the first stages of design."

"Learning about Tiffany, Sophia, and other similar stories, we've made the decision to make Botsociety free for all students and universities. We can't wait to see what researchers and students will imagine, once they have the right tools," Botsociety CEO Vittorio Banfi said in a statement.

"We're very excited that Botsociety—one of our portfolio companies—has made the decision to open the platform for education. We look forward to seeing what students will come up with over the course of the school-year," says Ilya Gelfenbeyn, head of the Google Assistant Investments program.

Botsociety will grant free premium access to the platform to accredited faculty members, allowing students to design for the Google Home, Facebook Messenger, Slack, and more.  For more information or to request a license visit

Bianca Nieves


Cision View original content with multimedia:

SOURCE Botsociety Inc.

View Comments and Join the Discussion!