Jasper – personal assistant for Raspberry PI

Personal assistants are hot these days. Open source personal assistant is a dream for many developers. Recently released Jasper makes it really easy to install personal assistant on Raspberry Pi and use it for custom voice commands, information retrieval and so on. Jasper is written in Python and can be extended through the API. More importantly, Jasper uses CMUSphinx for offline speech recognition, so much waited capability for assistant developers.

Try Jasper, download it’s source code from Github, modify it according to your needs and contribute new features.

We wish all the best to Jasper project and hope it will become popular.

Smile – Smart Picture Voice-Annotation using CMUSphinx

It’s great that more and more applications are using CMUSphinx. Recently a smart picture voice-annotation/tagging Android app using speech recognition to automatically generate multiple suggestion has been announced. Smile uses CMU Sphinx4 as one of the ASR recognizers.

Smile is a camera and picture gallery application that helps you to immediately voice-annotate your photos. Smile will then automatically extract the text (annotation) from the recorded voice using speech recognition technology, and will embed the text annotation and the voice as metadata inside the picture. So if you are searching for a picture in the hundreds of pictures you have on your phone, you can find them easily using Smile’s Search facility. Even more, with Smile you can share the photo with friends, with or without the speech and text. Your friends or colleagues can see the picture (if they don’t have Smile), and with Smile they can see the picture, the text and listen to the speech. Great for fun, quick greeting photos, work if you need to take photos with record to cherish memories, for documentation purposes, expense receipts, and many more uses.

To play with Smile you can download it at Google Play Store.

Public Release of the OpenDial Toolkit

It is not easy to build an intelligent software, the cooperation on all the levels of the speech processing needs to be tight. For example, you should not only recognize the input but also understand it and, more importantly, respond to it. You need to give your software an ability to understand the current situation, correct the results and respond intelligently. A great piece of software to assist you with that has been recently release.

OpenDial is a Java-based software toolkit that can be used to develop robust and adaptive dialogue systems for various domains. Dialogue understanding, management and generation models are expressed in OpenDial through probabilistic rules encoded in a simple XML format.

You can find more information about the toolkit on the project website:


The current release contains a completely refactored code base, a large set of unit tests and a full-fledged graphical interface. You can also find on the website practical examples of dialogue domains and a step-by-step documentation on how to use the toolkit.

Try it!

Processing Speech Recognition Results With Wit.AI

The biggest challenge for developers today is a natural user interface. People already use gesture and speech to interact with their PCs and devices; such natural ways to interact with technologies make it easier to learn how to operate them. Biggest companies like Microsoft and Intel are putting a lot of effort into research in natural interaction.

CMUSphinx is a critical component of the open source infrastructure for creating natural user interfaces. However, it is not the only one component required to build an application. One of the most frequently asked questions are – how do I analyze speech recognition output to turn it into actionable information. The answer is not simple, again, it is all about a complex NLP technology which you can apply to analyze user intent as well as a dataset to help you with analysis.

In simple cases you can just parse the number strings to turn them into values, you can apply regex pattern matching to extract the name of the object to act upon. In Sphinx4 there exist a technology which can parse grammar output to assign semantic values in user request. In general, this is more complex task.

Recently, a Wit.AI has announced the availability of their NLP technology for developers. If you are looking for a simple technology to create a natural language interface, Wit.AI seems to be a good thing to try. Today, with the combination of the best engines like CMUSphinx and Wit, you can finally bring the power of voice to your app.

You can build a NLP analysis engine with Wit.AI in three simple stages:

  1. Provide a few examples of the responses you expect.
  2. Send raw user input to the API. You get structured information in return.
  3. Wit learns from usage and helps you improve your configuration.

Bringing natural language understanding to the masses of developers is really a hard problem and we great that tools appear to simplify the solution.

Pocketsphinx Python bindings ported from Cython to SWIG

As of today a large change of using SWIG-generated python bindings has been merged into pocketsphinx and sphinxbase trunk.

SWIG is an interface compiler that connects programs written in C and C++ with scripting languages such as Perl, Python, Ruby, and Tcl. It works by taking the declarations found in C/C++ header files and using them to generate the wrapper code that scripting languages need to access the underlying C/C++ code. In addition, SWIG provides a variety of customization features that let you tailor the wrapping process to suit your application.

By this port we hope to increase coverage of pocketsphinx bindings and provide a uniform and documented interface in various language: Python, Ruby, Java.

To test the change checkout sphinxbase and pocketsphinx from trunk and see the examples in pocketsphinx/swig/python/test.

Open Source Dictation is Coming

It is an old idea to implement an open source dictation tool everyone could use. Without servers, networking, without the need to share your private speech with someone else. This is certainly not a trivial project which was started many times, but it’s something really world-changing. Now, it’s live again, powered by CMUSphinx.

Consider details about ongoing efforts of Simon project to implement open source dictation.

Voice-enable Your Website With CMUSphinx

It has been a long dream to voice-enable websites. However, no good technology existed for this either because speech recognition on the web required a connection to a server or due to the requirement to install binary plugin.

Great news is that you can now use CMUSphinx in any modern browser completely on the client side. No need for installation, no need to maintain voice recognition server farm. This is a really cool technology.

Sylvain Chevalier has been working on a port of Pocketsphinx to JavaScript using emscripten. Combined with the Web Audio API, it works great as a real-time recognizer for web applications, running entirely in the browser, without plug-in.

It’s on Github (https://github.com/syl22-00/pocketsphinx.js),
comments, suggestions and contributions are more than welcome!

Pocketsphinx will be used in Ubuntu Unity 8

Months ago, Mark Shuttleworth announced and explained Ubuntu’s converged vision, where a singular OS is to power phones, tablets, desktops, TVs, etc.

Presently, the Ubuntu developers are working on strengthening Ubuntu for phones (Ubuntu Touch), development where speech recognition is to probably play a relevant role.

Among the usage-cases, the speech recognition was demoed (at a mockup level) as part of the HUD 2.0, basically, allowing the user to trigger commands by pressing a button and speaking into the phone’s microphone, oral command translated and applied similarly to a regular command.

Great news of today is that PocketSphinx has just landed in Ubuntu 13.10 by default being shifted from its previous universe availability (via Ubuntu Software Center) directly into main (landing via the regular updates). This means PocketSphinx is to be utilized for the upcoming Unity 8’s release on the desktop, probably to allow users to fully grasp the Unity 8’s features via a full spectrum of functionalities.

It’s definitely just a beginning of the work but it’s really great to see CMUSphinx on its way to the desktop. Definitely there will be many problems on the way since a proper implementation of the speech recognition system is not a trivial task and needs certain expertise. Your help is needed here otherwise all the issues will be assigned to Pocketsphinx.

Speech recognition on Kindle Touch with CMUSphinx

We are happy to announce that CMUSphinx-powered speech recognition comes to Amazon Kindle. “Vague” or Voice Activated GUi Extension was recently introduced and already available for your Kindle with Kual, a unified launcher

If you have an old Kindle sitting around, or you just want to get a little more out of the one use every day, jailbreaking is simple. Once you jailbreak, KUAL is a worthwhile little application launcher that gives you easy access to what you download.

KUAL works with pretty much every single Kindle model. Once it’s installed, you can run the program, and you’re given a simple, easy to use launcher to access everything on your Kindle. That means games, VNC clients, apps, and plenty more. It’s a nifty little launcher, and the fact it works on pretty much every Kindle out there makes it simple to use.

Vague allows you to navigate through your bookreader, launch various tools and, more importantly, it’s highly extensible in mind. That means that you can add your own commands easily with just a simple script!

Great job done!

Speech recognition on Kindle Touch with CMUSphinx continued »

OpenEars version 1.3.0 Preview Is Available

Recently, a new version of OpenEars is announced. The main feature of a new release 1.3.0 is an upgrade to the latest CMUSphinx codebase pocketsphinx-0.8. This upgrade should bring additional stability and performance, so you are welcome to try it!

OpenEars is the most popular free offline speech recognition and text-to-speech framework on iOS, and the basis for the OpenEars Platform, a plugin system that lets you drag-and-drop new speech capabilities into your iOS app.

If you are interested in examples of the applications built with CMUSphinx and OpenEars framework, please visit this cool project. Photo editing can be a challenging task, and it becomes even more difficult on the small, portable screens such as camera phones that are now frequently used to edit images. To address this problem PixelTone, a multimodal photo editing interface that combines speech and direct manipulation was created:

This truely creative application demonstrates how powerful multimodal framework could be created with CMUSphinx. Your application could be the next voice-enabled one!