Skip to Content
Uncategorized

Talk to the Hand

Clicking through multiple layers of menus and scrolling through tiny pages isn’t the most efficient way to work with electronic information-just ask someone squinting at the screen of a personal digital assistant. Liam Comerford and his colleagues at IBM’s Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, NY, have developed an alternative that allows interaction through conversational voice commands. Called the Personal Speech Assistant, this handheld goes above and beyond the voice-activated menu commands available with other devices. It understands natural-language queries such as “Show me my address book,” or “When’s my next appointment?” The assistant extracts the pertinent information from its database and answers with synthetic speech. It also tailors its responses based on the user’s needs; if someone forwards through the detailed spoken instructions, for example, the device automatically starts to deliver shorter prompts. As an added bonus, the prototype translates English phrases into any of five languages. The prototype (photo) is a stationary unit that cradles a Palm III, but within a year, the software should be available for handheld-device manufacturers to incorporate into their products. “It’s mostly a matter of the right party stepping up and saying, ‘Gimme,’” says Comerford.

Deep Dive

Uncategorized

Our best illustrations of 2022

Our artists’ thought-provoking, playful creations bring our stories to life, often saying more with an image than words ever could.

How CRISPR is making farmed animals bigger, stronger, and healthier

These gene-edited fish, pigs, and other animals could soon be on the menu.

The Download: the Saudi sci-fi megacity, and sleeping babies’ brains

This is today’s edition of The Download, our weekday newsletter that provides a daily dose of what’s going on in the world of technology. These exclusive satellite images show Saudi Arabia’s sci-fi megacity is well underway In early 2021, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia announced The Line: a “civilizational revolution” that would house up…

10 Breakthrough Technologies 2023

Every year, we pick the 10 technologies that matter the most right now. We look for advances that will have a big impact on our lives and break down why they matter.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.