Apple is considering beefing up contextual voice commands and speech recognition on future iPhones. A patent (number 20100312547) at the US Patent & Trademark Office is for contextual voice commands and involves speech recognition.
Among other things, techniques and systems are disclosed for implementing contextual voice commands. On a device, a data item in a first context is displayed. On the device, a physical input selecting the displayed data item in the first context is received. On the device, a voice input that relates the selected data item to an operation in a second context is received. The operation is performed on the selected data item in the second context. The inventors are Marcel Van Os, Gregory Novick and Scott Herz.
Here’s Apple’s background and summary of the invention: “Speech recognition can be used to convert spoken words to machine-readable input, such as key presses, using the binary code for a string of character codes. Typical speech recognition applications include voice dialing, call routing, domotic appliance control, simple data entry and speech-to-text processing. In these applications, speech can be used as a part of a user interface to create pre-defined speech or voice commands.
“A combination of physical and voice inputs can be used to implement contextual voice commands that control device operations across different contexts (e.g., applications) on a device, such as a smart phone. In addition, by using contextual voice commands, a user can execute desired operations faster than by navigating through a set of nested menu items. Also, contextual voice commands can be used to teach the device to accurately predict the intent of the user from a single voice command. Further, contextual voice commands can be used to vary the manner in which the user provides the voice input based on the context of the device being used.”
— Dennis Sellers