DM
Silicon Valley
Most people use Siri to set reminders or find destinations on a map.
But now four students have managed to transform Apple’s voice-sensitive personal assistant in to a super helper - making it capable of playing specific songs on Spotify, taking photos and even adjusting the lighting and temperature of your house.
The technology, called GoogolPlex, combines a linguistic trick with third party apps to let users to get more from their iPhone by simply talking to it.
While the technology is in its early stages, it already allows users to play music, post selfies on Instagram and control Philips Hue lights using voice commands.
The student startup said: ‘Imagine being able to control your Nest thermostat and unlock your car through Siri. With GoogolPlex, these are now possible.’
When a user says ‘GoogolPlex turn off the lights,’ Siri hears: ‘Google “plex turn off the lights”‘ so that it thinks that the person wants to Google something.
hackathon with their product, which they have described as ‘an App Store for Siri’.
In order to intercept the request between Siri and Google, they built a proxy server - a system that acts as an intermediary for requests from clients seeking resources from other servers - and found a way of connecting iPhones to a DNS server, which is the system that converts addresses like google.com into IP addresses.
By creating a server that spoofs the DNS (domain name system) of Google.com, the programme is able to send a string of words the user asked Siri to its own server, which in turn allows communication with apps like Instagram and Spotify.After receiving a string of commands such as ‘Plex turn off the lights,’ their server uses natural language processing methods to understand the command. It sends a ‘HTTP Redirect Response’ to the phone with a custom web address like ‘googolplex://.’ that launches the GoogolPlex programme. It then connects to the appropriate app and carries out the intended action.
At the moment, users can say ‘GoogolPlex, play Demons’ to start a track on Spotify, ‘GoogolPlex, turn on my lights’ to turn on Phillips Hue smart lights, and ‘GoogolPlex, make it warmer,’ to interact with a Nest thermostat.
The students are working on making it possible for anyone to build their own commands using GoogolPlex.