Amulet charms CES 2009 with voice recognition in the home


9 Jan 2009

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Irish technology companies continue to take their products global, and the latest is Amulet Devices, a young Irish-based firm, which is launching the Amulet Remote at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas this week.

The Amulet is the first voice-enabled remote control designed specifically for Vista Media Centre, and makes voice recognition in the home a reality at last. Finally, scenes from Will Smith’s I, Robotcan become a reality – without the man-killing robots, of course.

The device makes life for those who love their gadgets a lot easier, with tasks such as recording and watching TV, listening to music and viewing DVDs, videos and photos all controlled by simple voice commands.

The remote works with any Vista Media Centre system, and replaces the standard media-centre remote control. For those who like modernist décor, a huge benefit of the device is that it keeps your living room clutter-free.

Meanwhile, those who have to put the specs on or squint at the TV to find their programme of choice will have a new experience. With Amulet, you just say ‘Watch X, Y or Z’, and the system will select that channel. Likewise, if you want to watch a recorded episode, you simply say ‘Watch programme Eastenders’and the Amulet will find and display it. 

The same goes for those wanting to play music, but there’s also a helpful addition. If you don’t recognise a certain song, by saying ‘Name that tune’ the Amulet will tell you what’s playing it. Perhaps a bit too I, Robot for the non-tech afficionados, the product includes a high-quality synthesised voice that allows two-way conversations, even when the TV is turned off.

Amulet Devices has spent the past 18 months developing its own software and hardware, which features patent-pending technology to automatically sense when it is being spoken to. Voice commands are then transmitted via secure wireless link to the Media Centre, which responds accordingly. The Amulet remote also operates as a traditional remote control with buttons, so users can choose the most convenient way to carry out any task.

According to Garry McMullan, CEO, Amulet Devices: “We can’t wait to show the US how well voice works as an interface to all your digital media. CES 2009 is the ideal place for us to bring Amulet’s innovative technology to a much wider audience."

Amulet Devices was formed in 2007, and is supported by Enterprise Ireland and private investment. It claims to be the first company in the world to bring the voice-enabled remote control capability to the consumer market through its combination of dedicated hardware and software. In addition to its new Amulet Remote, Amulet Devices sells home media-centre systems designed to store all of a household’s video, music and photos in a single convenient location, which can then be accessed from anywhere around the home.

By Linda Daly

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