Sensory Announces New Time-Setting Technology
Walking into Grandma’s house and seeing the VCR blinking 12:00 could soon be a thing of the past. With a new update to its FluentChip firmware, Sensory is making it possible for granny to set the clock on her VCR with her voice.
FluentChip v3.1, which Sensory released yesterday, includes TimeSet, a technology that allows any RSC-4x enabled device with a clock to have its time set using natural spoken phrases, eliminating the confusing manner in which digital clocks are programmed.
The chip will be embedded into consumer products such as alarm clocks, microwave ovens, VCRs, DVR recorders, and thermostats. It doesn't require any user or device training, or an unusual sequence of spoken commands or discrete input of digits. It is activated by pushing a push-to-talk button on the device.
Todd Mozer, president and CEO of Sensory, believes the chip’s ease of use will entice consumers. "Historically, you hit the timeset and the clock says, ‘Please say the hour,’ ‘Please say the minutes’, ‘Please say a.m. or p.m.’," he states. "That’s cumbersome and takes a lot of steps." Products embedded with the new FluentChip give users the ability to say just, ‘Seven-thirty a.m.’ to set an alarm clock or program a recording time for their television.
Mozer says a Hong Kong company, Cyber Workshops, is currently developing a platform around FluentChip: a clock with other time-related capabilities. Electronics with the technology could be available as early as next year.
"There’s a really high demand for it; people wanted it for a long time," Mozer states. "We just didn’t have the accuracy on our chips to do it. The issue is we can do it on software on a PC but doing it on a little eight-bit processor with limited memory is difficult."
Though the chip acts as an alternative to a recording device’s visual interface, Sensory says FluentChip is in no way trying to compete with that interface. "[FluentChip] is very complimentary," Mozer says.