Samsung’s Galaxy S III handset has received some press for its advanced S Voice personal assistant app (which has already been hacked to run on other Android phones.) Less attention has been paid to the phone’s other voice recognition technology, a surprisingly advanced system that can wake the phone up from sleep mode.
Sensory, Inc. developed the system that “listens” all the time for the voice trigger – “Hi Galaxy,” by default – that activates the device when the phone is in sleep mode.
The technology “enables mobile devices to be safer and more convenient to use,” said Sensory CEO Todd Mozer, in a press release. “Samsung has been a pioneer in adopting this new approach to speech technology which is really building momentum in the mobile market.”
Turning a device on from sleep using a voice trigger frees users up from fumbling for the power button at unsafe moments, like when they’re driving, but it needs to work when there’s heavy background noise, avoid triggering from the wrong cues, and remain battery friendly. The developers also wanted the system to work without speaking directly into the phone, and say that under some circumstances the phone can be.
Sensory quoted ABI mobile devices analyst Michael Morgan, who said the technology set a benchmark for tech that wakes devices up from sleep mode.
“Voice Activation is the last piece of the speech recognition puzzle needed to deliver a 100 percent hands free device experience,” Morgan said. “Sensory’s TrulyHandsFree solution is the leader in bringing this capability to iconic mobile devices such as the Samsung Galaxy II, Note and III. The accuracy and low power consumption of Sensory’s solution in today’s mobile devices will become a driving force in making voice activation a must have feature across a vast array of consumer electronics.”
Once the phone is on, it features a vastly more sophisticated personal assistant, S Voice, which offers much of the functionality of Apple‘s Siri assistant. But while IBM, which banned its employees from using Siri for fear that Apple’s database of questions could threaten the company’s security, may have cause for concern from S Voice, Sensory’s technology can only respond to a handful of triggers, and should pose no threat.