Apple Patent Shows One Use for Nuance's Speech Recognition Technology

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Patently Apple points to a newly published patent application which could show one possible reason Apple is so interested in Nuance's speech recognition technology. Apple is rumored to be in negotiations with Nuance for the use of their speech recognition engine in iOS 5.

The patent application offers a possible solution to two different scenarios where it would be hard for someone to answer a phone in the usual way.

Problem One: Communicating in Noisy Environments
A smartphone user may sometimes have to make or answer a phone call in a noisy environment. Noise could interfere with a phone conversation to a degree that the conversation is no longer intelligible to either conversing party. A user in the noisy environment may try to scream into the phone over the noise, but the screaming and the noise may render the voice signal unintelligible at the other end.
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Problem Two: Unable to Communicate During a Meeting
In another scenario, it may be inconvenient for a user to talk on a phone. For example, users may be in a meeting and don't want to draw attention to themselves by speaking into the phone. The users may try to whisper into the phone, but the whispering may render the conversation unintelligible. The users may choose to send a text message to the other party, but the other party may be on a landline where texting is unavailable, or may not have a texting plan. It could be frustrating to conduct a telephone conversation when the environment is noisy or the circumstance is inappropriate for a user to speak.

In either scenario, the user is offered the possibility of communicating with the incoming phone call using text-to-speech and speech-to-text capabilities. If receiving a phone call in a loud restaurant or quiet meeting, you might be able to choose the ability to answer using text messaging. The text would later be then turned into speech for the caller to hear, and the caller's verbal responses would likewise be converted back into text.

Now, this is a novel implementation and the likelihood of Apple's implementing it into iOS 5 is probably low. Other perhaps more likely possibilities include the use of voice for search, phone navigation, and dictation for email/sms messages.

Tag: Patent

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Top Rated Comments

Kentochan Avatar
171 months ago
This could really be helpful to blind and deaf people too!
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ArtOfWarfare Avatar
171 months ago
This sounds like it would be a nice feature.

Not having a texting plan

Thats really not an issue in 2011.
Correction: This isn't an issue for people under ~30 years old. I know plenty of 40+ year old people who don't have texting plans. And what about landlines?
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ritmomundo Avatar
171 months ago
Finally! Some kind of integrated speech-to-text recognition! I've been waiting for Apple to implement this. Its one of the few features Android phones have that I really wanted on my iPhone (although Android is mostly dictation for texting/email, not call to text and vv, which is awesome btw). Yes, I know Dragon Dictation exists, but I really want something integrated into the messages app. Next, I want turn-by-turn GPS and the Swype keyboard. :)
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Uragon Avatar
171 months ago
Wow, a totally useless feature for me. Had voice recognition on my BlackBerry, never used it. Have it on my car satnav, never use it.

Stupid waste of money and resources on Apple's part. This is not the future.

Then, how are you suppose to say, "beam me up Scotty." :D
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
entatlrg Avatar
171 months ago
Wow, a totally useless feature for me. Had voice recognition on my BlackBerry, never used it. Have it on my car satnav, never use it.

Stupid waste of money and resources on Apple's part. This is not the future.

Speak for yourself.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
skinnylegs Avatar
171 months ago
Wow, a totally useless feature for me. Had voice recognition on my BlackBerry, never used it. Have it on my car satnav, never use it.

Stupid waste of money and resources on Apple's part. This is not the future.
Do you still use floppy discs as your primary form of removable media?
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)