One in three passengers suffer from motion sickness in the car. This is becoming an increasing problem for children, with the popularity of using smartphones and tablets on a journey. Award-winning digital product and voice studio Hi Mum! Said Dad has devised an innovative voice game on Alexa Auto that mitigates motion sickness for children.



The in-car voice opportunity

Amazon has recently released Echo Auto in the UK, the after-market plug-in device that enables a driver or passengers to speak with Alexa in the car. Voice is a natural way for users to interact on the go. This is particularly true in the context of the car, where the benefits of a hands-free, view-less interface is a no-brainer.

As voice already is becoming more commonplace in the car - Capgemini Research Institute reported that nearly three-quarters of drivers expect to use in-built car assistants by 2022 - digital product and innovation consultancy Hi Mum! Said Dad set out to explore the possibilities for this exciting new technology.



Following a user-centred design approach, we sought to solve a particular existing problem for drivers and passengers - the fact that one in three people are prone to motion sickness. Our early insights also indicated that this could become an increasing problem for children, with the popularity of using smartphones and tablets for entertainment or to pass the time on journeys.

We then explored what causes motion sickness, and we understood that when your inner ear, responsible for balance, senses movement, but your vision does not see that movement, this conflict is what creates the sensation of motion sickness.


Echo Auto I Spy


Welcome to Auto I Spy

To tackle this, Hi Mum! Said Dad devised an innovative voice game that mitigates car sickness for children. By gamifying the outside space, the Skill interacts with the real world, encouraging children to look out of the window. In a classic game of I Spy, Alexa takes the pressure of the parent to play and uses GPS and other data sources to identify and offer up real-world objects, such as roads, buildings and on street furniture.

For example, Alexa would say: “I spy with my little eye, something beginning with ‘P’...” The child would look out of the window and spot a park: “Is it a park?” The answer is correct.



The Future

Tim Smith, Design & Strategy Director and Managing Partner at Hi Mum! Said Dad adds:

The future potential of voice in the car is obviously immense, but we believe voice should only be used in the car when appropriate and that any experience brought into the car must be only possible in the car, or greatly enhanced by it, for it to be meaningful. In this instance, a voice skill with access to GPS at a destination that is ever-changing creates a dynamic experience with the world outside passing by as the car moves through space. We are working on other voice experiences with this same premise, for example, guided tours and road trips as well as utility concepts for payment at charging stations that benefit not only the OEM but also service providers and other businesses around the car.”

If you'd like to learn more about our Echo Auto exploration or about in-car voice opportunities, please feel free to get in touch.