Penguin Random House has launched its first author-led voice skill for smart speakers – an Astronaut Selection Test with Tim Peake and the European Space Agency (ESA) – to promote Peake's new book.
The Astronaut Selection Test allows Alexa and Google Home assistant users to engage with the voice of the British astronaut for the first time. Peake is on hand to challenge them to answer real puzzles and training exercises from the ESA's rigorous astronaut selection test process.
The author-led voice skill tests candidates on their memory, teamwork and survival skills to see if they’ve got what it takes to become an astronaut.
The voice skill application is part of a wider audio-based promotional campaign for Peake’s new work, The Astronaut Selection Test Book.
Rebecca Ikin, Penguin Random House’s marketing director, said: “As publishers, we’re keen to understand this new interface and the potential for voice technology to connect our authors with potential readers, particularly in the realm of education.
"Tim had spoken about the virtual assistant technology used on the International Space Station and so we’re thrilled that he’s our first author to explore this new frontier with us.”
Peake added: “The skill is a great blend of cutting-edge technology and fascinating science about human spaceflight. The questions range from easy to fiendishly hard, and they can be enjoyed by the whole family.
"I hope it may inspire the next generation of spacefarers. Recording the skill was a unique experience and felt very appropriate, as astronauts are currently exploring the use of similar virtual assistants on the International Space Station."