Voice-activated technologies apps and gadgets are taking the world by storm. So why is voice becoming so popular and what are the coolest new technologies out there? For one thing, gadgets, in general, are becoming ever more convenient and often convenience=hands free. Giving users the ability to take care of tasks and use apps without having to touch a smartphone or device gives people the freedom to do more while they are on the go. You aren’t allowed to text and drive, but you can voice activate your apps while driving and keeping your eyes firmly on the road.
A wireless world
With the launch of Apple’s iPhone 7, the world seems to be moving towards technologies that are smoother, sleeker and paradoxically both more and less connected; more connected because they allow you to do more with your time and your network, but less connected because they have less physical ports. The future (or at least the one Apple is pushing towards) eliminates the headphone jack and is slowly transitioning us to a wireless world. Samsung has been using wireless charging for years now, and let’s face it if we think of the science fiction visions of the future they are almost always wireless (just think about the complete absence of wires in Star Trek or Star Wars for example). In this new and exciting wireless world, voice and voice activation has become an essential tool.
Smart homes get a voice
Google has been working extensively on the next generation of smart home technology: a tiny device known as Google Home. It looks set to launch on October 4th and it is all about voice control. Overall, the product isn’t so different in terms of functionality to Siri, whom we all know and love. It works to give us voice control of our homes and can connect with other Google based devices like Nest. It has a lot in common with the sleek and formidable Amazon Echo, which has now been on the US market for about 2 years. Both are tiny, wifi connected and able to control all the appliances in your home through voice. And the Amazon Echo is about to launch in Europe in a few days. For now, there is no AI involved so users get all the functionality without the harrowing AI story of shows like Black Mirror’s White Christmas.
Have a chat with your motorbike
You probably heard of Night Rider, the 1980’s show with a talking car. Well, existing technologies are now one better than this, allowing you to talk with your motorbike (ok, not literally). The Skully smart helmet brings motorcycle riders an augmented reality experience with a blind-spot camera and heads-up display for greater safety and a better ride. And of course, the whole thing is completely voice controlled. And yes, the world of voice-activated cars is also continuing to evolve, bringing drivers better and better voice controlled activation, infotainment and more.
Voice transforms technology
As well as allowing us to move towards a vision of a hands-free world, where we can do everything and anything on the go, voice technologies are actually adding a personal element back into technologies, which are otherwise very impersonal. In addition to talking to your cars, helmets, homes and devices, users are increasingly talking to each other on bite-sized voice recordings via messaging services like Whatsapp and even through voice comments and reviews. Hearing another human across the bot filled and automated online world adds a welcome personal touch to the medium and also helps eliminate much of the ambiguity associated with text-based communications.
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