How do you create a voice operated door?

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HvA // Interaction design, Visual design, UX research, Coding

Project duration: 1 week

While working with different emerging technologies I had the assignment to create (within 1 week) a voice operated interface that was connected to an object of your choice.

Conception

For this assignment I chose to use a door as my VOI.

I chose a door because I thought it would be fun to create a door that would be able to listen to your input and do something with it. For this use case I had to show the issues that people had that would make this a needed object in this world. The problems I saw were:

  1. When your hands are full and you have to put down all your stuff to open the door.
  2. When you want someone to look after your house and you need them to have a key.

I saw this as reasonable (though simple) issues in which a door like this would be needed.

Development

While creating this door I started thinkin about what other than opening it and giving permission to open it could be important for a door like this?

And while researching I saw an answer, there have been numerous cases in which a person needed help while in their house but weren't able to get to a phone or get the needed help. So I thought if a smart door can recognize your voice and recognize that you need help, then maybe it could help you.

Why help? Well let's say an old person lives alone, and they perhaps fall down and break their hip. If they are unable to move a call for help could reach Doory and in turn help them. Or even better if they have an app with Doory on it they could ask it to help them through the app.

Implementation

Well to actually make this is not easy at all. My prototype took some time to actually work. But I was able to create it.

I created a webpage in which you (yes you!) can communicate with Doory. This webpage works through annyang.js. a library specifically built for speech recognition. Unfortunately it doesn't work in firefox and edge. talk to Doory here. Here are the voice commands you can use:

  1. Open: open the door
  2. Close: close the door (if it's open)
  3. Help: activates helping mode
  4. Fine: deactivates helping mode
  5. Hello: Doory will talk back!

When coding I also made use of p5.js to register the sound threshold and give the feeling as if Doory can hear what you're saying. This visual feedback is needed in a less visual interface, primarly to make sure the user knows that it works. If you want to see my code you can see it here.

Reflection

I found it challenging and exhilarating to create for an interface that I wasn't used to. I also found it fun to play around with idea's and to actually code the concept.

Working on a hypothetical future where this would take place was quite a fun way to use my creativity. I found it refreshing to look at things a different way than usual. While working on the project I also got better with coding and using libraries to create what I want.

If you want to see my documentation on this project, you can see it here (it's in dutch though).