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Voice Activation without the Physical Trigger or Buttons?

August 11, 2011

By David Sims, TMCnet Contributing Editor

If you’ve thought much about a world of voice activation and speech recognition, you’ve realized that you still need a physical trigger or button press to activate the voice control in the first place.

But according to a recent article from industry observer Ryan Kim, that distinction should be “fading away” as devices are starting to be able to recognize voice commands without the physical prompt.

The article highlights Sensory’s TrulyHandsfree Voice Control 2.0 software, saying it “recognizes and responds to many more keywords and longer phrases, dozens of them, that can be analyzed in the course of a regular noisy conversation” for triggering prompts.

The TrulyHandsfree technology is already used in car Bluetooth kits from BlueAnt and Kensington and phones like the Samsung (News - Alert) Galaxy S II, Kim says, adding that Sensory’s CEO Todd Mozer said “he’s been contacted by four TV companies in the last month who are interested in using TrulyHandsfree as a front end for voice controls.”

Mozer’s also talking about the usual products that some people somehow think require voice activation -- coffee machines, stereos, home automation systems, cars, the usual list. Look, we’re all for voice activation and speech recognition, it’s great technology, but very few people outside of geekdom have, or want, something called “home automation.” Very, very few people want to talk to their coffee makers, either.

“When combined with smarter speech recognition technology used by companies like Nuance (News - Alert), Vlingo, Google and Microsoft, it could really help bring speech technology into the mainstream,” Kim says, noting that Xbox Kinect can respond to some voice commands. Great, as we said, we’re all for it in the right setting, but there’s no need to put speech recognition onto a coffee maker just because you can. For 98.7 percent of all human beings, pushing a button isn’t that much of a hardship when it comes to something like making coffee.

Now, a voice activated and controlled vacuum cleaner...

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David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Juliana Kenny

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