Meet Ubi the computer that talks back


September 6, 2012 in News

Everything always seems more impressive when its handsfree. Riding a bike with both hands never provokes a ‘wow’ response but speeding down a busy road with no hands always seems way cooler. Hands free means we are free to do other things at the same time, like hands free for phones means we can be cooking, driving, baking a cake, we could be climbing a mountain and life would still be easier all because we don’t have to actually use our hands to hold the phone.ubi

So what about a hands free computer? No more logging on, typing in search engines or shutting down and restarting. A simple, easily voice activated computer is something we could all do with for our ever so busy lives. This seems like a natural evolutionary step in the world of technology and computers so surely someone has managed to develop such a device?

Well there are some clever folks out there who have been working on the Ubiquitous computer or Ubi for short. This little box plugs into a standard power outlet and connects wirelessly to a home/office router using built in wifi technology.  Using speakers and an omni-directional microphone you can interact with your computer by calling out its name. So for example instead of typing into a search engine ‘How many pounds are there in a kilo?’ you call ‘Ubi’ and then ask it the question instead. It’s a way more human way of doing things. It’s a computer ‘buddy’ with all the knowledge you need.

Not only does Ubi talk back to you it also uses lights to alert you of statuses and events in a none-obtrusive way. Colourful lights illuminating your bedroom seem a lot more pleasant in the early morning. It’s almost as though Ubi recognises that not everyone is a morning person.  However, in the office you don’t need the distraction of a talking computer telling you status and event updates every 5 minutes so the colourful lights alert you and then it’s up to you to check the update on your computer or smart phone.

One feature which I find fascinating is how it lets you know how to dress depending on the weather. No longer will you have the hassle of checking the weather and pondering over whether you should take the umbrella or not, Ubi will decide for you. As a female this is a feature I am eager to try out for myself.

Another interesting feature is how its built in sensors detect information about its surroundings. It can tell you if a light is on in a room which could prove as a useful security tool when not at home or at the office. It can also tell you when a babys room is too hot which will be a welcome accessory for new parents. This little box really is multi-functional and will make your life easier whatever your age, occupation or computer ability.

So for business I think it is fair to say it will most definitely make doing business a lot easier.  No more searching contacts to call, just command to Ubi who you want to call, no more remembering events as Ubi will notify you in good time. I could sit here and list all the uses of this little box but I would be here all day and that is definitely not good for business.

To see the Ubi in action check out the video below, it really is remarkable.

About the author 

Pete Baikins

Pete Baikins is an international authority on gamification, a lifelong gamer, successful entrepreneur and a lecturer. As CEO of Gamification+ Ltd he mentors and trains companies world-wide on the use of gamification to solve business challenges. Gamification+ won the Board of Trade Award from the UK's Department of International Trade in January 2019.

Pete is co-host of the health gamification podcast Health Points and is also Chair of Gamification Europe, the annual conference for Gamification practitioners.

Pete is an Honorary Ambassador for GamFed (International Gamification Confederation), having previously been the Chair from 2014 to February 2019, whose aim is to spread best practices within and support the gamification industry.

After 15 years as a Lecturer on gamification and entrepreneurship at the University of Brighton he now guest lectures on Gamification at King’s College London and at ESCP Europe at post-graduate and under-graduate levels.

Over the past 20 years Pete has built and sold two businesses. One was in security software and the more recent one was a telecoms and internet connectivity business. He is also an Ambassador for Brighton & Hove Chamber of Commerce in the UK.

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