Tag Archives: voice recognition

Ivee Digit Alarm Clock

Ivee Digit talking alarm clockThe Ivee Digit alarm clock looks like an ordinary bedside LCD or LED alarm clock…but would it be at CES if it was just that? Andy and Courtney finds out what makes Ivee tick.

The Ivee Digit understands natural language and can respond to 35 voice commands and speaks the date, time and temperature. The big sister, Flex, includes a radio as well. You can tell Digit to set the alarm, tell you the time or snooze for another five minutes as you roll over for more ZZzzs.

Here’s a typical conversation with Ivee.

You: Hello Ivee
Ivee: Say a command
You: Set alarm 1
Ivee: Please tell me the alarm time
You: Seven o’clock am
Ivee: Alarm 1 is set to 7:00 am

Aside from the novelty value, it’s great for people who are short-sighted.

Interview by Andy McCaskey and Courtney Wallin of SDR News and RV News Net.

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Apple’s Siri Delivers on the Sci-Fi Dream

It’s not often I fall asleep at my computer and usually it’s a large lunch with alcohol that’s to blame, but Apple’s “Let’s Talk iPhone” event had a similar soporific effect. For sure, no company does self-promotion like Apple, but the majority of Apple’s news would’ve merited little more than a press release from most organisations.

  • Apple sold lots of devices and lots of music.
  • The iPhone has had a spec bump.
  • The iPod Touch is available in white.
  • The iPod Nano is cheaper.
  • Social networking in the next version of iOS.
  • Apple is joining the cloud bandwagon.

And then there was Siri, the announcement of natural language voice control, and I was awake. Previously a dream of sci-fi, it could revolutionise the way all of us interact with our devices, not just mobile phones. Many of the demos have been business-orientated about meetings and reminders, but imagine being able to almost have a conversation with your iPhone that goes like this…I’m in my car, heading to meet friends in a new restaurant.

Me – “When am I meeting Janet and John for dinner?”
Phone – “7 pm.”

Me – “Can you direct me to the location?”
Phone – “Plotting GPS route now.”

Me – “How long will it take to get there?”
Phone – “35 minutes.”

Me – “Please text Janet saying that I will be 10 minutes late.”
Phone – “Yes.”

Awesome and from the demos of Siri, it doesn’t look like we’re terribly far away from the scenario above. If we take a term from a previous era, it’s delivering on the promise of a PDA – Personal Digital Assistant. Voice recognition and digital dictation have been around for some time, but being able to put an element of understanding into the process opens up new possibilities and that’s when Apple will deliver on the sci-fi dream.

Dragon Dictation for the Iphone

I have had Dragon Dictation on my Iphone for about a week now and have started to use it more and more. Dragon Dictation is made by Nuance Communication which also created Dragon Naturally Speaking, Jott Assistant, Jott for Salesforce and MacSpeech among other products. Nuance Communication is actually fairly new to the Apple market, they started as a PC product with Dragon Naturally Speaking. They launched Dragon Dictation and Dragon Search shortly after the Iphone came out. In February 2010 they purchased MacSpeech. I downloaded Dragon Dictation for the Iphone, because I was looking for a way to put text into the Iphone without having to use the keyboard.

Dragon Dictation fits my need very well. The first time you open the application up, it will ask you for permission to scan your address book for names. If you give it permission it will remember the names only, no addresses or phone number. If you change your mind later, you can go in settings and revoke the permission. While in the settings menu, you can also decide if you want to have Dragon Dictate automatically recognize the end of sentences which is how it is by default. If you do it manually you have to say period at the end of each sentence, which does take some getting use too. Dragon Dictation also recognizes other common punctuation, such as commas, question marks, and the at sign just to name a few. It also recognizes commands such as new paragraph and new line. It works best in a quiet room or by using headphones with a microphone. You can do it by using the Iphone internal microphone, but the results are not as good. You want to speak clearly and in your normal voice, it will learn from you overtime. I found it works best when you speak in short bites. Then stop let it translate and then dictate some more. It does not like non dictionary words, such as Boxee, which became Boxy. I did notice that the first time I used the word Mac, it interpreted it as Max, but after I corrected it the next time I said the word it interpreted it correctly. If you get an error, there are a couple of ways to correct it. The first is too highlight the word that is wrong and in a drop down menu it will give some possible substitutions. The second is to use the keyboard that comes with the program and correct it that way. Finally you can highlight the word or phrase and record right over it with the correction.

Once you have done the dictation, you have the option of sending it directly to Twitter or Facebook from with in the application. It does have the option of emailing or texting the information, however you have to enter the email or text address in manually. Finally you can copy what your results and paste them into any other Iphone application you want. It would be nice if this application was integrated right within the Iphone , so that you could use the capability within any application. Until that becomes available, this maybe the next best thing. Dragon Dictation is free and is available for both the Iphone and the Ipad.