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Voice Control Gains Momentum: LG Magic Remote, Nuance Acquires Vlingo

News of LG's release of its Magic Remote with voice and gesture control, along with Nuance's purchase of competitor Vlingo signify the continuing expansion of voice recognition as a control 'interface.'

LG has introduced its Magic Remote that includes the power of voice and gesture commands.
Arlen Schweiger · December 21, 2011

There is more good news for those who are interested in, or banking on, voice control technology as one of the next big things in custom electronics - we certainly are, having named it as one of our Top 5 Hot Home Tech Opportunities for 2012.

LG Electronics’ new Magic Remote for its Cinema 3D Smart TVs won’t be your run-of-the-mill clicker. Nope, the Magic Remote may sound more like something out of an infomercial, but LG says the device will be equipped with some of those newfangled alternative input technologies - like voice recognition, gesture control (“magic gesture”) and pointing.

And since it’s already perhaps taking a page from Apple with Siri-like ability, LG has also included a “wheel” for scrolling functionality rather than traditional button pressing.

“LG has been striving to constantly improve the comfort and convenience with which our customers use the Cinema 3D Smart TVs,” said Havis Kwon, president and CEO of LG Home Entertainment Company. “The new Magic Remote is our latest example, incorporating new functions that will make it easier for users to approach and use the Cinema 3D Smart TVs, particularly our Smart TV function which now has over 1,000 apps and a growing abundance of premium content.”

Here’s how LG describes the options on its funky new remote:

By implementing voice recognition technology into Magic Remote, users can enter text - such as search terms - with voice commands, speeding up the overall Smart TV browsing experience.

The Wheel located at the center of the Magic Remote enables users to swiftly scroll up and down various menus and apps, allowing users to make quicker selections. Meanwhile, the Pointing function (formerly known as Point and Click) allows users to simply point the Magic Remote toward the TV screen and drag the on-screen cursor to make selections. Through Pointing, users can also navigate through LG’s Smart TV ecosystem without having to use multiple buttons and arrow keys. Additionally, physical Magic Gestures can be inputted as commands, enabling users to control CINEMA 3D Smart TVs with simple arm or wrist movements.

Nuance Acquires Vlingo
Meanwhile, a couple of leading providers in the voice recognition field will be joining forces. Nuance made public its acquisition of competitor Vlingo to bolster its R&D and product innovations in what it described as “a $5 billion market opportunity that spans phones, tablets, cars, televisions, navigation devices, music players, PCs and more.”

You may have heard of Nuance through its Dragon Go! speech recognition software - here in the Boston area you can’t turn the radio dial without hearing a commercial for it.

“Inspired by the introduction of services such as Apple’s Siri and our own Dragon Go!, virtually every mobile and consumer electronics company on the planet is looking for ways to integrate natural, conversational voice interactions into their mobile products, applications, and services,” stated Mike Thompson, senior vice president and general manager, Nuance Mobile. “By acquiring Vlingo, we are able to accelerate the pace of innovation to meet this demand.”

Dragon Go! has given Nuance a pretty good head start on the advancement of voice recognition into more mainstream technology; and Vlingo counts biggies such as Yahoo and AT&T among its backers since being founded in 2006.

That adds up to plenty of potential in furthering voice control’s reach into residential and commercial A/V and automation applications for 2012.

LG adds that its Magic Remote also features a “3D button,” which will turn the display from 2D to 3D with its click. But come on, 3D is so 2010. Besides, soon we’ll just be able to tell our TVs to switch to 3D mode.

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  About the Author

Arlen Schweiger is managing editor of CE Pro, Commercial Integrator and Security Sales & Integration magazines. Arlen contributes installation features, business profiles, manufacturer news and product reviews. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Arlen at

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  Article Topics

News · 3D · Apple · Gesture Control · LG · Voice Control · All Topics
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