Fun with voice control

It was my brother’s birthday a few days ago.  The family got together and we took him out to dinner at a restaurant nearby.  I’d just gotten a new car a few weeks back, and he hadn’t seen it yet, so I told him to hop in and I’d drive him over.

The car’s a new model and it has a bunch of cool electronics, and they’re all controllable by a touchscreen on the dash, or by voice control.  There’s a little toggle on the steering wheel, and when you hit it, it makes a tone and a voice says  “please say a command,” and then it listens for something it recognizes.  It works about as well as you’d expect from modern voice control systems, and there’s a lot of room for improvement, but it’s still pretty cool.

Anyway, when I turned it on, the radio was running.  My taste in music and his differ pretty significantly, and I decided to prank him a little.  It was dark already, and I surreptitiously hit the toggle button, while at the same time saying “Computer!” in a very clear, slightly raised voice.

*ding* “Please say a command!”

“Radio off.”

*ding* The radio turned off.

My brother looked at me and he’s all, “Woah.  It’s like on Star Trek!”

“Yeah, I know. Isn’t it cool?”

I never did tell him about the toggle switch.  He’ll find out eventually…


  1. François says:

    Well, it could very well have a “standby” listening mode, waiting for the “Computer” trigger-word to switch to “active” listening mode…
    Out of sheer curiosity, what car is it?

  2. […] impressed by the handling and also by the cool electronics, and that was without even showing him the voice control feature.  He even joked that he was going to borrow it and take it to the next football game so he could […]

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