An ecosystem is emerging around Siri, the intelligent natural language software agent that Apple introduced with its iPhone 4S. In the latest evolutionary news, a version of Siri has been made to run on other Apple devices, there's a comparable app for Android devices, and there's even an app to start your car with Siri voice commands.
One of Siri's many talents is voice dictation, and now a hack known as SiriOus allows for jailbroken iPhones 4 and 3GS, and the iPod Touch fourth generation, to offer that function. Jailbreaking involves getting around Apple's limitations on a device, such as installing non-App Store apps or changing the user interface.
Here Comes Cluzee
Owners of non-4S Apple devices aren't the only ones who might be a little Siri-envious. Now, a new, third-party "intelligent personal assistant" application called Cluzee provides similar features for Android-based devices.
Cluzee, available in the Android Market, also reportedly offers features beyond Siri. Tronton, the company that created Cluzee, has posted a video in which Cluzee answers a question like "what does my schedule look like today?" This not only includes a verbal recitation of one's calendar schedule, but also on-the-fly integration with external data, such as verbal advice to avoid the traffic on certain streets, in order to reach a doctor's appointment.
Tronton said that Cluzee can provide such additional capabilities as personalized recommendations of restaurants based on the user's previous choices, a health planner, a travel planner, notes management, personal radio and more. And, if you want a taxi, just tell Cluzee, "Call taxi."
Siri Controls for Any Machine
But instead of a taxi, you might want to tell your own car to start. A developer named Brandon Fiquett has created a plugin/PHP addition that allows voice commands through Siri to turn a car engine on or off, if the car has the Viper SmartStart system, such as on the Acura TL.
With this setup, voice commands given to Siri can also open the trunk, lock the car doors, or turn on the car alarm.
But cars are only the beginning for Siri. Another developer, Pete Lamonica, has developed a SiriProxy, which intercepts the signal Siri sends to Apple's servers as it obtains more data or executes a demand.
With this signal rerouted, apps are being developed to allow Siri to control digital thermostats, turn on lights or television, open or close curtains, or select the latest episode of a given TV show on a home entertainment system.
The rapid proliferation of new uses for Siri mirrors comparable third-party development of Microsoft's Kinect controller, which uses gestures, face recognition, and voice recognition to control the Xbox 360. But that is now being expanded into a virtual cottage industry of medical applications, control of non-game devices, and every other use that non-touching interactive control can invite.
With these parallel ecosystems, Siri and Kinect are rapidly moving human-computer interaction toward the future that the 21st century is supposed to deliver -- natural interaction with intelligent machines.