Contributions to the field of Mind Controlled Smartphone Virtual Assistants
Current Virtual Assistant Technology
(Photograph of Siri on iPhone 4s)
The technology of virtual assistants has become more popular in recent years with the advent of smartphone voice recognition technologies such as Siri on the Apple iPhone and Google Now on Android-based devices. These virtual assistants primarily use voice for input into the system and a speech synthesis controller for audio feedback to the user. Although the reliability of this technology is improving over time, there are situations that may require the necessity to use an alternate form of input when voice is either not available or the environment is such that a voice recognition system would fail.
Current Mind-reading Technology
(Photograph of Neurosky's MindWave Mobile EEG Headset)
Another emerging is that of brainwave-reading EEG headsets. The Emotiv EPOC headset and Neurosky’s MindWave Mobile are examples of EEG headsets which have become available to consumers, developers and researchers for projects related to using the power of the mind to control smartphones and computers in a variety of ways. Currently, the technology has been used in a limited fashion to control helicopters, run phone applications and play games. However, the use of brainwave analyzers with virtual assistants such as Siri has not been successful before now. Although projects have surfaced in recent years claiming to have the ability, such as the Black Mirror Project in 2011, this project and others have been eventually found to be fakes in their implementation.
Also the ability to use Siri in a third-party iPhone application has not been successful because Apple has not released an API to developers to make use of the voice recognition functions and speech recognition. The ability to use any API to control Siri on the iPhone has largely been undiscovered except for project that resorts to creating a ruby-enabled Siri proxy or the requirement to jailbreak the device. My custom API for using Siri in an iOS application does not require this type of activity.