Voice-activated technology has been around for years, but it is only recently that it has developed enough for practical application in many consumers’ daily lives. However, recently there has been an influx of gadgets – both practical and whimsical – that you can control with just your voice.
Samsung Smart TV
The Samsung Smart TV has a built-in microphone in its remote control that allows you to navigate the on-screen content with just your voice. Or, you can use hand gestures – picked up via the remote sensors on the TV – to change channels, adjust sound volume, surf through your TV guide, and more.
Garmin Prestige Series
GPS devices make navigating roadways safer by reading aloud your turn-by-turn directions. Rather than looking down at a map or written directions from one of the many roadway map apps now online, you use your ears to their fullest advantage, keep your eyes on the road, and keep your hands on the wheel. This is even more important when you don’t have a passenger to help you navigate – or act as a typical sideseat driver and distract you even more.
Garmin’s latest device makes your driving directions through unfamiliar roadways even safer. By enabling voice-activated commands, you can establish a new route, search for pit stops, and ask for help, all while keeping your eyes off its screen on and the road where they belong.
Gadgets don’t necessarily have to be useful in order to be fun, and the voice-activated R2-D2 is much like having an astromech droid for a pet. Although the actual utility of this device is questionable, it can certainly entertain you and yours with a variety of games, movie quotes, sound effects, question-and-answer capabilities, and music from the original movies. What makes it better than a similar device that you may pick up on the cheap from the local electronics store? It can understand and respond to over forty different voice commands.
And of Course, Google Glass
Step back, Siri. The next development in voice-controlled mobile devices is the eponymous Google Glass – a headset that projects images onto a small screen mounted on the frame above the users right eye. The version of Google Glass currently being field-tested by excited tech gurus connects to Wifi signals as well as a smartphone via Bluetooth technology. Users get the attention of the device by stating “Okay Glass,” followed by a vocal command. They can also use a scroll bar on the side of the headset to navigate the screen in their field of vision.
According to TechCrunch, developers are already working on creating apps for use in conjunction with Google Glass. By the time the beta test group is finished, new tweaks are added to the system, and the product is ready for worldwide launch, any app available on your smartphone or tablet may be transferrable to Google Glass.
In need of one practical example of the use of Google Glass in “real life”? Imagine coming to your front door laden down with grocery bags in both hands. If your Glass is connected to your wifi door lock app, all you need to do is say, “Okay, Glass: unlock my door.”
Photo Credit: Flickr/José Maria Silveira Neto