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Voxblock - the screen free audiobook player for kids

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by Startacus Admin

voxblock image.

The lowdown on Voxblock, the Edinburgh-based startup that has created a new physical format for audiobooks for kids, with no screen, no internet connection, and no need for any apps.

voxblock picAs the number of digital options for entertainment increases, the amount of time spent with an open book decreases. As true as this is for adults, children are no different. Fewer children are reading these days and, while the alternatives might not necessarily have a negative impact on their development, they do take away the positive impact that reading has. Development of language, vocabulary, comprehension, imagination, emotional intelligence… Reading is important to the development of a child, and yet the alternative of putting a phone or tablet in their hands so they can watch YouTube videos instead is all too common.

Edinburgh-based startup Voxblock has created a platform for children to have audiobooks read to them without the negative effects of being glued to a screen at all times. Voxblock is a physical device, about the size of a tablet, into which ‘blocks’ (chunky, tactile book-alikes) can be slotted. All that’s needed is a charged battery and a press of the play button, and the audiobook plays, without a screen. 

voxblock photThis means no strained eyes, no glow at night, no tempting distractions. The Voxblock doesn’t need to be connected to the internet, and there are no companion apps - it’s a simple, straightforward platform that leans into the tactile nature of children’s development.

The blocks are made of cardboard, with book covers printed on them like any book, and the player is built with as few parts as possible in order to keep it simple, robust, and minimise its impact on the environment. That robustness is important, as it isn’t designed to be kept safely in a cover and sat on a pedestal like an expensive tablet - it’s designed to be taken in the car, into the garden, on whatever adventure a child goes on. At night, the Voxblock will read a child to sleep for 20 minutes before going into standby.

Voxblock was soft-launched at 2022’s Edinburgh International Book Festival in August, and is now available from their online shop. Classics like Robin Hood, Robinson Crusoe, and The Jungle Book are already available thanks to their partnership with publishers such as HarperCollins, Hachette, and Scholastic, and we’re sure more will be eager to sign up soon.



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Published on: 29th September 2022

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