Researchers at Microsoft have created software that can translate a user’s voice into a foreign languages, a solution with the potential to revolutionize communications, MIT’s Technology Review reported on Monday. “We will be able to do quite a few scenario applications,” said Microsoft researcher Frank Soong. “For a monolingual speaker traveling in a foreign country, we’ll do speech recognition followed by translation, followed by the final text to speech output [in] a different language, but still in his own voice.” Read on for more. More →
During a memorial service for Steve Jobs that took place on October 16th, his sister Mona Simpson delivered a touching eulogy that was published in today’s New York Times. Follow the link below to read it in its entirety. More →
We’ve heard rumors that Apple will a include Siri-powered “Assistant” voice command option ahead of the official iOS 5 launch, and now 9to5Mac has learned that Apple will also add Nuance-powered speech-to-text functionality. As the screenshots show, users will simply need to tap the microphone button next to the space bar in order to activate the feature. When active, a larger microphone image will pop up to alert the user to begin speaking. The functionality is similar to what’s already available on Android smartphones and we hope it performs just as well. Hopefully we’ll see text-to-speech implemented in an upcoming iOS 5 beta build, otherwise we’ll have to wait until September when the official public release hits. Read on for a second screen shot. More →
It has been about 15 months since Apple acquired Siri for a reported $200 million, and it looks as though we won’t have to wait much longer to see the deal bear fruit. In line with earlier reports, 9to5 Mac has been sent evidence that Apple will introduce voice controls in iOS 5. At present, the voice control features within iOS are lumped together in a service called “Assistant,” though this is not confirmed to be the launch name. A screenshot said to have come from an iPhone test unit shows a toggle to activate the Assistant service — and old style toggle rather than the slider from the new iOS 5 UI, interestingly — and 9to5 Mac claims to have verified the service by analyzing Apple’s latest iOS 5 SDK. “‘Assistant’ does not work only based on a user’s voice inputs, but Apple will take information – securely – from user’s devices like location, contact’s information, and music metadata to formulate the best information to serve a user’s request,” 9to5 Mac’s Mark Gurman writes. “Since Apple will be taking information such as phone contacts and location, we truly think that ‘Assistant’ will work just like the Siri iPhone application does; but fully integrated into the operating system.” The source of the screenshot says that the feature just went into testing, however, and it may not be ready in time for the initial release of iOS 5 this fall. More →
During his Embedded System Conference Silicon Valley keynote recently, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak took some time to rag on Paul Allen’s decision to sue Apple, Google, and other companies over patent infringement. “Paul Allen should be out there investing in companies that are doing something, making products, actually making a new future for the world, and not ‘I’m going to sue people, and get in bed with the lawyers to make my money.’ That’s not the right way,” Wozniak said, according to The Register. Wozniak referred to Allen’s strategy as a “patent-troll thing,” and said “any fifth grader could come up with the same approach.” Woz also said he was so perturbed by the Allen’s lawsuit binge — and the big company strategy of paying engineers to file for patents long before the tech is actually available – that he decided to bail on the Microsoft co-founder’s speech at the Computer History Museum to instead indulge in some Marie Callender’s pea soup with friends. More →
Search giant Google has just released an update for its Android Voice Search app that offers Android users the option of “personalized recognition.” Enabling the new feature will allow the search application to custom taylor its speech algorithm to a linked Google account. As the press release reads:
If you opt into personalized recognition, we begin to associate the recordings of the words that you ask us to recognize with your Google account. We then automatically use these words to build a speech model specifically for you. This speech model enables us to deliver greater recognition accuracy. Although subtle, accuracy improvements begin fairly quickly and will build over time.
The new version of Voice Search, which is available today, also includes improvements to name recognition and speed when operating on 3G and EDGE networks. The new feature is English only for the time being and requires a handset running Android 2.2 or higher.
Maybe it’s the cool-factor, maybe it’s the novelty, maybe it’s the crazy little “SpinVox Mobsters” pictured above or maybe it’s the sheer convenience; whatever the case may be, SpinVox is growing by leaps and bounds. Just last month the company announced the completion of a new funding round in excess of $100 million, bringing SpinVox’s current valuation to over $500 million. What’s all the fuss about? Until you take a few minutes to sample the SpinVox service for yourself, you simply just won’t get it. The backbone of SpinVox’s portfolio is speech-to-text but hey, that’s nothing new. The efficiency, accuracy and implementation are among factors that separate SpinVox from the pack. Ok ok, so what do they do?