AIRA Voice Assistant – A proof of Concept in virtual reality

Motivation

As part of the lecture “Software Development for Cloud Computing” we were looking for a solution, how a user can get basic assistance within our existing virtual reality game AIRA. The primary objective was a maximum of user-friendliness, while avoiding an interruption of the immersive gaming experience. It is also important to keep in mind, that the user is on its own and any kind of support from outside is usually not possible.

Moreover, considering that within virtual reality applications generally no conventional input devices will be available and therefore a keyboard is not an option. If we still following up this idea, many people may think next of an on-screen keyboard, as they know it from their smart TV at home, which might be operated by a game controller. Although such an approach would be contrary to a high ease of use and majority of implementations are quite crippled as well as hard to use.

So, what would be obvious and take all previous considerations into account? Simply think of something that each of us is carrying along at any time – the own unique voice. According to this we decided to implement a personal voice assistant into our game. In the following, it can be seen that the individuality of each human voice leads into a lot of difficulties we have to take care of.

In the following, it will be explained in detail how we implemented a personal voice assistant using multiple Watson serviceswhich are part of the IBM Bluemix cloud platform. Especially fundamental problems we run into will be discussed and then possible approaches will be pointed out.

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