Nuance Stories March 29, 2014

Using our voice to control computers has never really taken off. For many of us, using voice recognition technology wasn’t even a consideration until features like dictation and Siri arrived on our iPhones and iPads. There’s good reason too: the voice recognition features built into our devices have always had the reputation of being half-baked. They simply aren’t accurate and consistent enough to replace our tried and trusted mouse and keyboard or touchscreen. While half decent dictation features come with every Mac (and are powered by Nuance’s technology), the voice recognition features you get with latest version of Nuance’s Dragon Dictate for Mac go well beyond simply dictating speech to text.  expand full story

Nuance Stories October 10, 2013

Review: Popular translator app iTranslate gets reimagined for iOS 7

The popular language translation app iTranslate has been completely reimagined for iOS 7. Just like iOS 7, the app is heavily gesture-based. Because the new version features so many new gestures, a tutorial has been added that walks users through all of the new ways to interact with their translations.

At first glance, iTranslate does not feel as intuitive or as easy to use as the previous version. It takes a while to get acclimated to the changes, and to understand how to properly trigger the gestures, which can be a bit difficult at first. For example, when swiping, you have to swipe to the point where you will see the grey color transition to blue (for a shorter swipe), or purple (for a longer swipe) before the appropriate action will be triggered.

After going through the tutorial, the default languages are set to American English, and Spanish. Tapping on either English or Spanish pulls up the keyboard and you can type the text you want translated.

iTranslate supports text-to-speech, so that you can hear how the translation sounds. You can activate this feature using a swipe gesture. The user can choose from male and female versions of several dialects and adjust the speaking rate. Just tap on the countries’ flag to access the voice options and switch between languages.

iTranslate is available for free in the App Store for new and existing users. There is an in-app purchase for $4.99 that unlocks several premium features, which include removal of the ads at the bottom of the screen, voice recognition, and romanization (the option to convert other writing systems into Roman characters;  an example of this would be converting 你好 into Nǐ hǎo). Voice recognition is powered by Nuance and automatically recognizes forty different languages and dialects regardless of which languages the text input is set to.

iTranslate is a very powerful tool, and I would recommend it for those who are traveling overseas or simply as a supplemental tool for learning a new language.

Nuance Stories July 26, 2013

Apple’s secretive Boston office working on Siri’s speech recognition; perhaps a Nuance replacement?

For a few months, Apple has maintained a secretive office near the MIT campus. Now, Xconomy reports the company has been hiring notable speech recognition talent to use the location as a speech recognition research office.

Apple has assembled a small team of notable names in speech technology and is looking to expand those efforts in the Boston area, industry sources tell Xconomy.

Based on their online job profiles, we can say that members of the Apple speech team here are working on Siri, the company’s voice-activated virtual assistant. Details beyond that are hard to come by, however, even for others in the field.

Many companies build small liaison offices near suppliers of products and technology to help in cross-collaborative work…

Nuance Stories April 26, 2013

We reported earlier this week over on our sister site 9to5Google that the extremely popular Swype keyboard was now available for Android users on Google Play. Unfortunately its arrival came after the implementation of the similar Gesture Typing feature that Google introduced in Jelly Bean. While we know Swype owner Nuance has a pretty tight relationship with Apple through its voice recognition technology being used in Siri (although Siri’s co-founder told us Apple could “likely replace Nuance without too much trouble”), a Swype exec has now confirmed the company has had talks with Apple over its revolutionary keyboard tech.

iFans points us to a Reddit AMA with Swype Vice President Aaron Sheedy where the executive confirms discussions with Apple have taken place: expand full story

Nuance Stories April 1, 2013

If Nuance gets its way with the just announced ‘Voice Ads’ mobile advertising platform, soon every mobile ad could include Siri-like functionality that lets you communicate with and ask questions about the product being advertised.

Nuance, the company behind the voice recognition module now used in Apple’s Siri, today announced a new project to bring its voice recognition technology to the mobile advertising world. The basic concept of the new platform, which Nuance made available through an SDK for advertising companies, is to bring a two-way, interactive conversation to mobile ads. As highlighted by Nuance in the video above, ads that implement the Voice Ads platform will allow users to engage in a Siri-like conversation with an advertisement:

Nuance Voice Ads gives mobile advertisers and creative agencies an opportunity to go beyond the limitations of the four-inch mobile device screen and create a conversation with consumers through the power of voice recognition. Voice Ads finally creates an opportunity for brands to deepen the relationship with their consumers, with targeted interactive ads that deeply engage their core audience – much in the way that the world’s most popular mobile personal assistants have deepened consumers’ relationship with their mobile phones.

In the demo above, Nuance shows an advertisement for a fictional deodorant brand that uses a magic 8-ball theme to answer any question that users might have. The ad of course ends in a pitch for the product in question, as you might expect. Other ads could allow users to ask specific questions about a product’s release date or specs… expand full story

Nuance Stories March 27, 2013

Siri promo video (text message reply 001)AFP reported Apple is in court in Shanghai, China again today, but this time it’s over a lawsuit alleging the company copied components of Siri’s speech recognition software. According to the report, Shanghai-based Zhizhen Network Technology Co. claimed in pretrial proceedings that Apple infringed its patent related to voice recognition technology via Siri. While the suit notes that development of Siri began in 2007, there is no mention of Nuance. Apple currently partners Nuance with to implement the speech recognition component in Siri, and it is also a market leader that presumably has its own arsenal of speech recognition related patents.

Zhizhen says it patented its “Xiao i Robot” software in 2004, while Apple’s Siri, which made its debut with the release of the iPhone 4S in 2011, was first developed in 2007.

“The company will ask Apple to stop manufacturing and selling products using its patent rights, once Apple’s infringement is confirmed,” Si Weijiang, a lawyer representing Zhizhen, told AFP.

“We don’t exclude the possibility of demanding compensation in the future,” he added.

The company is behind Siri-like software called ‘Xiao i Robot’ that it claimed was first developed before Siri in 2004. The technology is apparently available on some smart TVs and enterprise applications, but it doesn’t appear to be available as a consumer-facing app for smartphones or tablets. The video below appeared online when the company originally filed suit against Apple last year, and it shows the Xiao i Robot software running on a Lenovo smartphone:

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