Amulet Bringing Voice Recognition to Home Control

Amulet demos voice-enabled Windows Media Center remote.

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Amulet, which makes a voice-enabled remote control for Windows Media Center, will soon make its technology available for third-party development.

“We’re coming out with an SDK [software developer’s kit] to use with automation,” says president Patrick Lawless.

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The SDK will be available shortly after the company’s first product, the Amulet Remote, is released this summer.

Lawless demonstrated the product during the Electronic House Expo (EHX) in March. Move the remote toward your mouth and the voice recognition kicks in. You can, “Play Movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” or ask, “What’s on ESPN?”

Amulet isn’t the first to produce voice-enabled remote controls. A good dozen or two companies have tried before and failed.

So what makes Amulet different?

“The problem was that the others were voice companies trying to do automation,” Lawless says. “We’re first and foremost an automation company.”

Besides that, he says, “Ours actually works.”

Amulet has been working lately with the Federation for the Blind to provide tools for the visually impaired.

During EHX, Lawless demonstrated how the hard-of-seeing could navigate a Media Center by voice control and feedback. For example, if you request the Western genre, you can say, “Read List.” Select a move and then say, “Read description.”

The Amulet Remote uses a 2.4 GHz radio that works over very long distances, according to Lawless.

In addition to working with Media Center, “We’re working with settop box manufacturers” to deliver Amulet technology to a wider range of products, Lawless says.

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