Anders Brownworth

Technology and Disruption

Voice Recognition Demo at TED 2013

Last weekend's hack project showed up in a video on the main TED 2013 stage.

The task was to cause a phone call to hang up via a voice command so people who may be paralyzed and not have use of their hands would be able to hang up a call. While many solutions exist to dial, few seem to help with hanging a call up which can cause someone to get stuck leaving an endless voicemail message. (termed "voicemail hell") This can turn dangerous if there is an emergency and they are therefore not able to use the phone.

With the help of Twilio and SRI (the company behind Siri on the iPhone) I was able to make an application which responded to a voice command to hang up calls. While it was only a proof of concept, the TED guys arranged for a video crew and we were able to allow Gary Whitman, a quadriplegic, to hang up a phone call. The video made it's way to the 2013 TED stage as part of a presentation.

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