Items tagged with voice

If you're a little timid of talking to an electronic device, you better suck it up soon, because it looks like it's going to be such a big part of our future as the "new normal". Solutions like Google's Conversation Actions are going to make these interactions possible. With Conversation Actions, smart algorithms are able to pick up on keywords to help give a reasoned response. An example of this can be seen below, where a user asks Google Home for dinner suggestions. The words "hot", "soup", "fast", "chicken", and "tomato" are plucked from the sentence, and without much of a delay, a tomato chicken soup recipe that can be made pretty quickly is suggested to the user. The ultimate goal here is... Read more...
As wearable tech concepts go, the idea of a "smart helmet' — a motorcycle helmet equipped to deliver usable information to its wearer via heads-up visuals projected onto the visor, such as GPS data — really is quite smart, allowing riders to keep their eyes on the road. And even smarter? Configuring said helmet to respond to voice commands, allowing riders to keep their hands firmly on the handlebars. So all of this considered, the LiveMap helmet is indeed one wicked smart piece of wearable tech. The brainchild of a group of Russian engineers, the lightweight Android-based LiveMap helmet is fitted with GPS and voice controls, developed with a $250,000 grant by the Russian Ministry of Science... Read more...
For all the hand-wringing following the debacle with Samsung’s smart TVs, the voice command really is a useful tool. Google has been working to improve voice commands in Android and, at long last, it appears to have added some excellent new voice commands to Android. Sadly, it looks like the new commands work only in Android 5.0, known as Lollipop. Google Now voice commands have been available in Android for a while, but as noted by Android Police, which first reported the new voice command functionality, many of them did little more than open the settings page for the feature you wanted to use. From there, you had to use your finger to enable or disable the feature. Now, at least some of those... Read more...
Nuance Communications is a company you may or may not be familiar with, but you're almost certainly familiar with its products. Whether you know it or not, the company's voice recognition processing powers Apple's Siri, and according to a new report, that technology could be up for sale. So it goes when you don't actually own the things that power your technology, Apple could be looking at a situation where its most bitter rival (Samsung) purchases the company that's providing the brains behind Siri. Obviously, fireworks would probably ensue, and Apple would have to figure out where else to turn to make Siri tick. Or, of course, Samsung and Apple could find themselves in a bidding war. Mind you,... Read more...
If you've ever initiated a call on your LTE-enabled smartphone while in an LTE area, you may have noticed what happens once the call actually connects. It's no longer using LTE. That's because Voice Over LTE (VoLTE) remains a fledgling feature, barely supported anywhere in the world, and certainly not broadly in the United States. As with everything in the technology world, that's changing. Starting May 23rd, AT&T will bring High Definition (HD) Voice using an "all-IP, VoLTE network." At first, only select markets will be tapped, but it'll spread like wildfire after the initial launch. This will allow those speaking with HD Voice to also surf via LTE. Initially, it'll be enabled on the Samsung... Read more...
As it turns, you can donate more than just blood to help others; you can donate your voice, and all it costs you is a stretch of time in a recording booth. And if Professor Rupal Patel and Dr. Tim Bunnell fulfill their vision, voice donations from all over the world may someday be generated with an iPhone app.   There are millions of people with speech impairments, and currently the vast majority of them must use generic synthesized voices to communicate. (Think Stephen Hawking.) Apple’s Siri is a voice built from human samples, although in her case the voice wasn’t “mixed” with anyone else’s. However, the aforementioned professionals have a company called VocaliD... Read more...
Oh, so that’s why. Facebook’s $19 billion acquisition of mobile messaging service WhatsApp was big news, primarily as it left many of us wondering why exactly the company would spend such an unbelievable sum of money on it. After a speech at MWC in which WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum stated that WhatsApp will soon offer free voice calls, it all makes much more sense. Effectively, when WhatsApp rolls out voice calling capabilities--Android and iPhone this spring and then BlackBerry, Nokia phones, and Windows Phone at some point, too--it, and by proxy Facebook, will be a sort of mobile carrier. Essentially what’s happening here is that the WhatsApp guys realized that data is the primary... Read more...
As we inch closer to the U.S. release of Microsoft's Xbox One, you can bet that you'll be hearing more and more about its features and functionality. Of course, a major selling point for the next-generation unit is speed: graphics and otherwise. The new Kinect sensor seems markedly quicker at recognizing inputs, and the console itself seems mighty quick at translating those inputs into actions. How so? Take a look at this Vine video, posted up by Major Nelson himself. He uses his voice to command the Kinect to look for a QR code, which just so happens to be a code that'll grant one a trial period of Xbox Live. After holding the card in front of the sensor, the console converts that code into... Read more...
The future of the telephone may be in jeopardy, or at least in some form of danger. Why? Google. The company has allowed US-based users to make telephone calls to the United States and Canada via Gmail for a few years now, and it's about to extend that in a big way. Recently, with a Gmail overhaul, the ability to make outbound calls vanished. And Google heard the outcry. So now, it's back -- and better. Calls to the US and Canada are now free from all countries where Hangouts calling is available. And international rates remain super, super low. Today's launch also improves the desktop calling experience in a number of ways. For example: you can add multiple phone numbers and video participants... Read more...
Over the years, Razer has spread its wings and expanded into much more than just mice and keyboards for gamers. This, however, may be one of its most broad initiatives to date. Razer Comms is the new product from the company, launching as an open beta and described as an "all-in-one communications solution for gamers." Applying feedback gleaned from a community-based closed beta program, Razer Comms now combines VoIP client, instant messaging and IRC-chat features, allowing gamers the world over to connect with one service, free of charge. It also features an in-game overlay and seamlessly integrates with PC games, providing for uninterrupted gameplay while at the same time typing or talking... Read more...
It'll come as no surprise to you to hear that televisions are getting smarter. It's actually tough to find a big-screen set these days without some sort of Smart TV platform baked into it, and Panasonic's latest line is looking to one-up the others. Nuance's Dragon TV is being installed onto Panasonic's newest Smart Viera HDTVs, adding voice interaction in order to let users bark orders at their set. It's a new definition of lazy, but hey -- we won't tell if you don't. Now people can simply sit back and speak to find content, search the web, control volume and more, and with Dragon TV's text-to-speech, television content and options on the screen can be read aloud. Dragon TV is Nuance's unique... Read more...
In other Google news for today, the search giant announced the latest update to Chrome (Chrome 25), which adds voice recognition capabilities via the Web Speech API. The API is intended for developers, who can bake in speech recognition to their web apps; Google mentions the ability to have rap battles or control game characters in web apps using only one’s voice. More simply and practically, Google set up a little demo page where you can “type” up an email just be speaking into your computer’s microphone. Fair warning: The demo only works on updated Chrome browsers. The new Chrome release also disables silent extension installs, which is designed to allow users to consent... Read more...
Audience has just announced their latest smartphone/mobile audio processor, the earSmart eS515. The earSmart eS515 combines the company’s advanced voice processing technology, which is already employed in many popular smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note II, with a high-performance, low-power audio codec for enhanced voice quality and speech recognition and a better multimedia experience. By combining the sound processor with an audio codec onto a single chip, Audience is also able to cut power consumption and reduce off-chip communication for potentially better battery life as well. We’ve got the full press release announcing the earSmart eS515 below and... Read more...
Nuance Communications is already established as a speech technology provider, and it gave itself a big boost by acquiring Ditech Networks, a company that provides Voice Quality Assurance (VQA) technology and PhoneTag voicemail-to-text services. Nuance is looking to leverage Ditech’s technology to enhance its Dragon Voice to Text Services business and further develop its secure on-premise voice-to-text platform. It won’t hurt to add Ditech’s customer base to Nuance’s roster, either. “The world’s most innovative carriers and unified communications providers work with Nuance to take advantage of the revolution in voice recognition, and nowhere is this more evident... Read more...
Talking to one's car and smartphone isn't nearly as strange as it used to be, largely thanks to things like in-car infotainment systems and products such as Google Now and Siri. But talking to the walls of one's home? That's still pretty loony. Soon, however, a company named iSpeech hopes that it won't be so odd. The company has launched a "Siri-like" voice recognition platform for the connected home, which aims to give homeowners the ability to use their voice to control things like the HDTV, kitchen appliances, and more. Even things like the thermostat and lighting can be controlled by voice, not to mention a washer / dryer and even a security system. It's all based on natural language commands,... Read more...
Anyone who has spent any amount of time in a vehicle with a voice-recognition system understands how lackluster most of them are. Even fancier rides usually have pathetic voice systems. Most drivers don't even bother to use the majority of the voice features, simply because it's a real chore to remember the correct phrasing, or it doesn't understand you -- basically, it's a long way from being even half as elegant as Siri is on the iPhone 4S. But there's one company on the PC side that seems to have this game figured out: Nuance. It's the company that makes the Dragon Dictate software, and now, they're finally porting that goodness over to the automotive world. Dragon Drive! is the newest addition,... Read more...
Fraunhofer IIS may not be a super familiar name in the consumer realm, but in the world of research, there's hardly a company that comes up with crazier things than these guys and girls. The company has chosen Mobile World Congress as the place to present the world's first Full-HD Voice mobile phone calls over an LTE network. Verizon Wireless has toyed with VoLTE (voice over LTE) before, but we've seen nothing beyond semi-promising demonstrations. This particular method enables mobile phone calls to sound as clear as talking to another person in the same room, at a quality level that is equal to that experienced by consumers on any other audio/video device. At the floor, there will be a live... Read more...
Apple's Siri has clearly convinced a lot of people to upgrade, or buy into the iPhone universe altogether. Apple's had no issues selling the iPhone 4S, and while there are a few slightly similar solutions for Android, Windows Phone 7 has largely been left out. But a revised version of Ask Zippy may get WP7 into that conversation. It's clearly no Siri, but the program was developed by a single person and is being offered for absolutely nothing. And for free, it's hard to complain. The app enables users to accomplish similar text-to-action things, just like Siri. You can ask questions, send texts and do all sorts of voice-related tasks that are impossible without the app. WPCentral is reporting... Read more...
Now we're talking. Two of the world's biggest names in voice recognition have managed to recognize that a merger needed to happen, or, at least that's what ended up happening after they chat-chatted for some time. Nuance Communications, Inc. announced it has signed an agreement to acquire Vlingo, Inc. Fueled by unprecedented demand for intelligent voice interfaces that combine voice, language understanding and semantic processing, Nuance and Vlingo will combine their deep innovation and R&D expertise to deliver next-generation natural language interfaces across numerous markets and industries. Consumer interest and demand for virtual assistant and voice-enabled capabilities have exploded... Read more...
Facebook is a popular way to communicate with friends. However, one form of communication is lacking from Facebook: voice. That is, it was lacking until now. Recently, Vonage launched a new mobile application that will let Facebook users make VoIP calls. The app is currently available for iPhone and Android smartphones. To use the Vonage app, you must download and install the app from the App Store or Android Market and enter your Facebook log-in. After this, you'll be able to instantly start making free calls by tapping a friend's name. The app will even show which of your friends have installed the app and who is available for IM chats. Of course, if you download and install the app, you're... Read more...
Google has revolutionized a few things in their short time on Earth as a mega-corporation, with search being at the top. But they've also created the only real rival to Apple's iOS system, and they've also changed the way the world thinks about e-mail and cloud-based Office suites. Now, Google is hoping to change telecommunications, with Google Voice taking a major leap out into the world. For well over a year, Google Voice has been an invite-only service. Basically, anyone with a Google Voice number (which in the US is just a standard 10-digit phone number) can arrange to have that number ring all of their phones, and any voicemail left to that number can be checked anywhere in the world, from... Read more...
In the past, invites for Google's Voice service could take anywhere from a few hours to several months to arrive after a user signs up. Recently, however, the company announced that it would give priority to users with an .edu email address. In fact, the company has promised that if you cough up an email address that ends in .edu, you'll get a Google Voice invite within 24 hours. You can visit google.com/voice/students to submit your address. Google Voice invites for students We’ve found that Google Voice can be useful in many different ways to many different people. But one group of people that it’s especially well-suited for is students. We’ve heard college students in particular... Read more...
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