Truax Creates Audio App for Amazon Alexa

By Rayce Patterson | July 12, 2018

Ported from an Echo article by Rayce Patterson

Senior Caleb Truax III started the company Drift Sounds while still a student at Taylor University.

Truax is a film and computer science student who has worked on projects like the student short films, “The Summer of ‘59” and “Nuworld,” according to his website. However, his entrepreneurial spirit led him and his business partner, Timothy Woten from technology company Sweetwater, to create Drift Sounds.

Drift Sounds produces audio to help people study, focus and sleep. These sounds are recorded naturally with high-quality equipment using binaural audio recording techniques. Binaural audio allows for the simulation of 360-degree sound, so the user feels like they are hearing as close to the original sounds as possible. These sounds have been recorded in several places in Fort Wayne and around Lake Michigan.

“There are a ton of applications … that can help individuals sleep, but they’re not really high-quality sounds,” Truax said. “We’re talking like high-quality audio that you can actually notice the difference.”

Another technique Drift Sounds employs is producing audio that does not loop. Many current sound apps loop after five to 10 minutes of audio, according to Truax. By comparison, with Drift Sounds, you could fall asleep to a track and wake up and not have heard the same section of audio looped. According to Truax, their audio tracks only loop after about 12 hours.

In order to test their audio with the public, Truax decided to stream their audio on Twitch, a video and audio service where users can stream content as it is happening live. Within the first 16 days, Truax’s stream got over 1.2 million minutes streamed, and is currently close to 90,000 listeners on Twitch. However, Truax wants to go beyond this and design a Drift Sounds Skill, which is a voice application for Amazon’s Alexa.

“The Alexa market is growing at a rapid rate, they’re seeing about a 30 percent increase in sales every year,” Truax said. “So, you’re talking about millions and millions of more people every year using these devices. And so now that they’re going to be … all in your home, and in your car, there’s some great usage, and I want to be on the forefront of that market.”

Drift Sounds is not the only project that Truax is working on that will be compatible with the Alexa and other voice-command devices. This past summer, Truax created a company with computer science student, senior Seth Lugibihl, called LT Labs. One project Lugibihl launched was Voiciety, which is an online space for people to submit their Alexa Skills and communicate with other Skill developers. Truax and Lugibihl started working together in order to help each other with their different projects, ear credibility among developers and to also better the small community of Skill developers, according to Truax.

“People would say they would never bank on their iPhone, like six to seven years ago … and now 70 percent of online banking is done through the mobile device,” said Truax. “That’s a very reminiscent thing we are looking at right now in the voice arena, where there is a lot of people in it, but people aren’t going after it hardcore yet, and so we’re wanting to bring in that entrepreneurial side of making these apps kind of break barriers in the social … productivity aspect, and really open up the platform to be all that it can be and really grow the market to where the iPhone and mobile space is right now.”