By: Jason Rhee, Greenlight Insights
Microsoft announced a new program, Custom Speech Service, as a part of their Microsoft Cognitive Services. Custom Speech Service is a suite that amplifies innovation in artificial intelligence and machine learning. This software allows developers to implement custom speech recognition tools in their applications – improving user interaction.
Alongside this announcement, Human Interact has debuted their first VR experience, Starship Commander. This experience takes full advantage of Microsoft’s powerful tools in hopes to be the most sophisticated voice-powered VR application on the marketplace. Unlike other VR interactive experiences, Starship Commander requires only speech instead of physical inputs of a controller. With the help of Microsoft’s Custom Speech Service, users do not need to say specific words to push the story forward.
Microsoft’s Custom Speech Service is a stepping stone for VR content development as developers can utilize users’ voices as a navigation input to maximize their overall experience. Interacting with characters and the environment in a VR story goes beyond physically interacting, but with speech as well. This is a storytelling tool other companies are working on, including Limitless, a VR studio focused on creating interactive characters that respond to voice, gesture and gaze.
Limitless CEO Tom Sanocki spoke at VRS 2016 about the importance of immersive and interactive characters in VR entertainment. Sanocki discussed the potential of fully interactivity in VR and how not being able to interact with characters holds that potential back. Everything in a virtual environment should be completely interactive to feel fully immersed. Characters that respond to physical contact and vocal interaction.
Custom speech recognition applications in VR is for more than just entertainment. The enterprise industries can also benefit from voice controls in VR. Currently AR smart glasses and headsets have voice command capability for hands-free interaction. Voice commands would offer a more realistic VR experience for training simulators for customer service to athletics to health care.