We all have words and phrases we lean on in our daily speech, and many, like “you know” and “literally” are crutches we’d rather not utter. Our words are powerful tools, and a new app from independent agency Omelet focuses on the mindful use of words and language.
Hikup is a digital utility tool is designed to make us all better communicators, especially those of us in the ad industry. Created by independent agency Omelet, in partnership with design studio Consume & Create, Hikup was designed to be a friendly coach to help people tackle our unwanted language habits and jargon—not as a critical space to judge themselves or others.
“We set out to show a different approach on how AI can help us be better humans. Specifically, we wanted to demonstrate how natural language processing can help us improve our language to better communicate in our daily lives. Through free Google AI web tools, we created a friendly coach for anyone looking to be more mindful and change their bad habits around the language they use,” said Ricardo Diaz, chief digital officer at Omelet in a statement.
The app is designed for personal growth for those focused on improving themselves and learning new things; professionals with corporate jobs who take meetings with colleagues or clients regularly and want to make sure they present themselves professionally; and college students who want to put themselves in the best position to enter the workforce by brushing up their delivery for interviews, internships, and opportunities.
Hikup is oriented around each person’s individual goals, serving as a subconscious coach of sorts. People start with the app by entering at least one word they wish to stop saying and then allow Hikup to monitor for those words in their speech. By clicking the start button, the app records and transcribes what they say in real time, flagging in red anytime they say that word or phrase.
When the session ends, the app will provide a detailed summary. This includes how many times they used their Hikup words, the session’s duration, accuracy and total words transcribed. Hikup then gives them the chance to email themselves a transcript of the report, to use as mindful future reference.
Hikup officially launched with the release of “The Hikup Song,” which showcases animated characters as friendly cheerleaders, getting people started on their vocabulary mindfulness journey.
Funded as a passion project by the agency, Hikup is the latest employee-driven innovation to come out of Omelet. In the past, Omelet has funded and produced an award-winning documentary, launched a nut and seed butter brand, launched a Portugal craft and post-production arm and created a bespoke gaming division.
“We’ve always fostered a culture of experimentation and innovation at Omelet,” said Thas Naseemuddeen, CEO, Omelet in a statement. “We don’t just want to learn about new technologies—we want to roll up our sleeves and play with them, find real utility and build helpful things with what we learn.”
Naseemuddeen continued that the process started with an employee wishing a tool like Hikup existed, and then the team jumping in to make it.
Consume & Create saw the app as a technical challenge, initially worried that the tech needed to capture and analyze speech would be cost-prohibitive to making Hikup a free service.
“After taking a deep dive on the Web Speech API, we came away very impressed by its capabilities. While the future of Hikup may be in AI analysis of a user’s input, with the Web Speech API, this initial version is getting fast, accurate reads for free. We’ve kept a long list of features for future versions of Hikup and are very excited to see where the team can take it from here,” said Matt Wiggins, partner/interactive director at Consume & Create.