Apple buys UK speech recognition firm Novauris to help improve Siri

04 April 2014

share this:


Voice recognition is a timely science not only because of all the human-automobile communication offered by car companies, but also by smart devices and their growing use of voice interfaces. It won’t be long until we operate many of our appliances by voice command.

Most present-day offerings require you to follow a menu, a convoluted non-intuitive form of communication. Few have the technology to enable consumers to ask for information quickly, easily, and without needing time-consuming complicated dialogues – but many companies are working on solving these problems.

Apple and Siri are at the forefront of handling free form conversational speech – and Apple’s acquisition of Novauris, a UK speech recognition company – will help in that pursuit. Terms and amount paid for the transaction – which occurred late last year – are unknown, but Novauris’ co-founder Melvyn Hunt confirmed the sale to a TechCrunch analyst.

Talent in this field is scarce and many companies have chosen to acquire that talent – and their software, patents and intellectual property (IP) libraries – for their various voice recognition quests.

These are a few of the companies developing and offering all sorts of consumer conversation recognition systems and context understanding systems from which instructions and responses are developed:

  • Nuance (which recently acquired Vlingo)
  • Evi by TrueKnowledge (which was acquired by Amazon)
  • Alfred (which was acquired and then shut down by Google)
  • Cue (which was acquired and then shut down by Apple)
  • Novauris Technologies (acquired by Apple)
  • Siri (which uses Apple and Nuance technology)
  • Okay Google by Google

Notice the pattern? Apple, Google, Amazon and Nuance appear to be hot on the trail of being able to capture conversational instructions, convert the words into context, determine the instructions required, and then process those instructions. Speed is helped by experience, and Apple, Google, Amazon and Nuance are gathering that experience and processing hundreds of millions of spoken words every day.

It really won’t be long until you and your refrigerator are having a meaningful conversation.

tags: , , , ,

Frank Tobe is the owner and publisher of The Robot Report, and is also a panel member for Robohub's Robotics by Invitation series.
Frank Tobe is the owner and publisher of The Robot Report, and is also a panel member for Robohub's Robotics by Invitation series.

Related posts :

Sea creatures inspire marine robots which can operate in extra-terrestrial oceans

Scientists at the University of Bristol have drawn on the design and life of a mysterious zooplankton to develop underwater robots.
02 February 2023, by

Our future could be full of undying, self-repairing robots – here’s how

Could it be that future AI systems will need robotic “bodies” to interact with the world? If so, will nightmarish ideas like the self-repairing, shape-shifting T-1000 robot from the Terminator 2 movie come to fruition? And could a robot be created that could “live” forever?
01 February 2023, by

Sensing with purpose

Fadel Adib uses wireless technologies to sense the world in new ways, taking aim at sweeping problems such as food insecurity, climate change, and access to health care.
29 January 2023, by

Robot Talk Episode 34 – Interview with Sabine Hauert

In this week's episode of the Robot Talk podcast, host Claire Asher chatted to Dr Sabine Hauert from the University of Bristol all about swarm robotics, nanorobots, and environmental monitoring.
28 January 2023, by

Special drone collects environmental DNA from trees

Researchers at ETH Zurich and the Swiss Federal research institute WSL have developed a flying device that can land on tree branches to take samples. This opens up a new dimension for scientists previously reserved for biodiversity researchers.
27 January 2023, by

The robots of CES 2023

Robots were on the main expo floor at CES this year, and these weren’t just cool robots for marketing purposes. I’ve been tracking robots at CES for more than 10 years, watching the transition from robot toys to real robots.
25 January 2023, by

©2021 - ROBOTS Association


©2021 - ROBOTS Association