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A start-up from Germany developed a voice assistant as a built-in module for devices. It is modular in hardware and software and offers an easy and fast integration into existing and new product lines. The products receive an innovative control system that simplifies the application. The module is ready for pilot use. Together with an industrial partner, they would like to test the module under real conditions and collaborate under a commercial, research or technical cooperation agreement.
With their product, the German start-up offers for the first time a voice assistant as a built-in module, which was developed especially for the needs of plant manufacturers and delivers software as well as hardware components.
With the help of the integrated modularity concept in hardware and software, the product can not only be configured according to customer requirements, but also according to the requirements of the target products. This enables easy and fast integration into both new and existing product lines and significantly shortens development times.
The module also enables the integration of sensors, touch displays and numerous other components and also enables use in application areas with high acoustic requirements. Depending on the typical ambient noise level, the number and arrangement of microphones can be varied. Support for several languages (currently German and English) allows the module to be used in a large market. Modularity also forms the basis of a new three-step procedure that allows more robust speech input than other voice assistant. This enables use in applications with high demands on acoustics, such as catering kitchens.
In order to guarantee the necessary data protection, a hardware-based security function has been implemented that is not yet found in any other voice assistance system. This means that recordings can only be made through user interaction and thus prevent secret audio recordings.
The interdisciplinary team has a high level of expertise in the areas of hardware development, audio processing, speech recognition and dialogue systems and develops new concepts for the integration of voice assistance systems.
The module is ready for pilot use. Together with an industrial partner, they would like to test the module under real conditions and investigate its potential and added value. Possible types of partnerships include commercial agreement with technical assistance, research cooperation or technical cooperation agreement.
With the help of the integrated modularity concept in hardware and software, the product can not only be configured according to customer requirements, but also according to the requirements of the target products.
The advantages of the modular hardware (depending on the application) are:
- Display size, number of microphones, sensors (brightness, noise level) and lighting elements
- Freely selectable arrangement of microphones: can be easily integrated into existing product lines
With a focus on data protection (especially in the current IT security discussion) advantages are:
- Safety-optimized hardware: No secret recording possible without user interaction
- Data processing exclusively locally on servers in Germany
The product is ideal for applications with high demands on acoustics due to:
- Better signal processing by arrangement, positioning and number of microphones
- Higher speech recognition rate through targeted training with application-specific vocabulary
With regards to the integration of the system into the existing infrastructure & requirements:
- Easy integration due to interfaces implemented specifically for the application
- A web-based administrator interface enables central control, monitoring and configuration of the individual modules.
Advantages based on the combination of voice and display input:
- For most of the intended applications an acoustic feedback with the system, like Alexa etc., is not adequate, a display is needed (e.g. the ticket vending machine should not give acoustic answers due to privacy, ambient noise, etc.)
The prototype is finished in terms of hardware. The speech recognizer must be trained for the respective domain. However, this takes place relatively quickly. For the integration and communication with the already existing systems in the product, product-specific interfaces have to be implemented. This is always done together with the industrial partner.
A patent has been registered. It has already been examined and declared patentable. A final examination and thus grant of the patent is still pending.
The start-up is looking for industrial partners who are producing plants or machinery. The type of machinery is not decisive as long as it has a commercial application. The partner is expected to grant access to the mashinery as well as relevant interfaces and/or to support the integration of the voice assistant module. Once the system is intergrated, different joint tests will be necessary to determine ease of use, the interplay of devices and detection rates. For this purpose, commerical agreements with technical assistance, research cooperation or technical cooperation agreements can be signed.