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Voice recognition

Location aware search quietly added to Google Now

Google Now users in the US and some other locales can now ask the search app about a place they're near without mentioning it by name. For example, you might be standing in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris and simply ask "How tall is this?" and Google Now will be able to discern what you're asking about based on your mobile device's location data.

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— Automotive

Drive makes phone-using drivers keep their hands on the wheel

When it comes to safe driving tips, taking your hands off the steering wheel to make or receive calls doesn't rate way up there. Many people instead use hands-free voice prompt systems, although these can also be be distracting, as they require users to think of the correct prompts and then speak them very clearly. Drive offers an alternative – it's a device that's controlled using finger movements, and it won't work unless the user's hands are on the wheel. Read More
— Computers Review

Review: Ubi the ubiquitous computer (consumer release)

Last month, Canada's UCIC announced the consumer launch of the Ubi. As regular readers may already know, Gizmag has been following the progress of this ever-present, always-on, voice-controlled vault of internet knowledge since its successful crowdfunding outing back in 2012. I was fortunate enough to get invited to join the beta program, and have now spent the last couple of weeks trying out the new-improved version (and taking a sneaky peek at things yet to come). Read More
— Robotics

Lowe's trials robot sales assistants

In the near future, you might be surprised to visit to the giant hardware store in your town and find yourself greeted by a chatty robot rather than a human sales assistant. A harbinger of this age of robotic shopping is being trialled with two Oshbot robot sales assistants at an Orchard Supply Hardware store in San Jose, California. Built by Lowe’s Innovation Labs and Silicon Valley technology company Fellow Robots using "science fiction prototyping," the OSHbots are designed to not only identify and locate merchandise, but to speak to customers in their own languages. Read More
— Computers

The Ubi always-on connected computer breaks out of beta

A project to create an always-on connected computer that interacts with its user by voice first kicked off in August 2012. Following its successful crowdfunding bid, the still in prototype Ubi went up for pre-order 2 months later, but it wasn't until earlier this year that the first beta units were ready for early bird testers and developers. Gizmag managed to get on the beta program and found the hardware pretty much ready for prime time, but the user experience still needing some attention. Ubi's creators have been busying themselves ever since and have now announced that consumer-ready computers are available to buy. Read More