Voice Controlled Gadgets
Thinking about the future generally creates particular images in our heads: flying cars, robots, and voice controlled homes. It always seems like the future is just around the corner though as nothing ever quite measures up to what we expected. After all, there are actually several models of flying car out there. Some are prototypes and others are commercial to one degree or another. Most of them don’t float though. A particularly famous one, in essence, acts like a glider. There are certainly plenty of robots too. We even have ones that are incredibly human-looking, but they aren’t terribly useful yet. The kitchen robots of tomorrow are starting to be here and yet they’re shackled to tracks and can’t necessarily serve you yet. The good news is that there are plenty of voice controlled gadgets out there now that can help you control your home and life with just a few words. So maybe the future is finally arriving.
Most of us have smartphones at this point. The devices are everywhere in modern life. They act as our schedule, our means of contacting people, how we reach our e-mail, how we watch movies, and countless other things. Smartwatches, their smaller and wrist-mounted counterparts, are similar. Most of us aren’t even sure how we got through our lives before these devices become so widespread. The screens aren’t the most convenient things in the world though. We need to tap them to navigate them and that can make them harder to read over time. Fortunately, more and more devices are looking to incorporate greater voice controls as the years advance. Voice searches are already common, but actual control is starting as well thanks to design choices and apps. You can expect this trend to keep going forward into the future. What makes this particularly interesting is that some people are making apps that can interface with other controls in homes.
Alarm Clocks and Interfaces
There are a lot of things you could choose to make voice activated, but one particularly amusing one is the humble alarm clock. Most of us think of them as a daily annoyance, but people are beginning to turn them into so much more. Voice controlled alarm clocks will actually turn off when you tell them too, but the designers of these devices generally don’t stop there. Many of these products actually act as control units for a larger household automation system and allow you to give the clock direction instructions on the temperature you want the house to be at, turn lights on or off, and sometimes even control the locks on sufficiently high tech homes. These devices are, in essence, centralized units for issuing instructions in an incredibly convenient way. Isn’t it nice to contemplate just letting your clock unlock the door when your friend shows up way too early for your road trip?
Ever had a question that you wanted answered, but your phone or computer were a room away? What about wanting someone to read your a recipe when no one else is there? That’s the goal of some of the “answer station” devices available on the market. They utilize voice recognition to determine what it is you need and to speak it back to you. These devices are appearing in greater number lately as more and more companies jump towards this level of home automation. It lets you solve common problems in a hands-free way without needing a device right beside you. These stations are increasingly acting like the broader home interfaces as well in that they can control other household systems with the right software. Most of these units are freestanding devices that you can place on a table or counter right now, but soon some of us may just be speaking to the walls of our houses to get them to do what we want.
We haven’t quite hit the future yet, but the prototypes are certainly here. There is going to be a long process of working the kinks out of the various systems though before flying cars, household robots, and full voice activated control is available. Fortunately, we can sample a taste of the future with various voice controlled gadgets that are already available. You can control everything from your phone to various household system from a simple device. So maybe living in the “almost future” instead of the future isn’t half bad.