Thursday, April 27, 2006

Nokia Phones Go to Natural Language Class

Using natural language for cell phones...

"As part of a research collaboration with MIT computer scientists, the Nokia Research Center Cambridge, in Cambridge MA, is developing cell phones that can understand and respond to written commands typed in English.

Robert Iannucci, head of the center, says the company wants to transform phones from simple calling terminals to "information gateways" -- to the Internet, GPS and sensors, MP3s, desktop computers, iPods, and other devices. And, he says, that requires rethinking the entire interface between people and handhelds. For both Nokia and MIT, that means using text interaction.

"Humans are good with language," says Boris Katz, lead research scientist at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, the principle group working with Nokia. "We want language to be a first-rate citizen" on cell phones, he says.

Natural language navigation systems have been long on promise and short on delivery. But it's no longer unrealistic to think these systems may be in the hands -- and handsets -- of consumers in the near future. One caveat: the complex underpinnings of these new applications and the algorithms that parse language will have to be hidden from cell-phone users -- lest they get frustrated navigating through layers of menus.

To power Nokia's natural language technology, MIT's Katz is using a software system he developed in 1993 called Start, which interprets human questions and finds answers using websites such as the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) and Mapquest. Using the Web version of Start as a base, Katz is currently working with the Nokia center to develop a mobile version of the software for cell phones, called MobileStart."   continued ...   (Via Technology Review)

Natural language for cell phones. - User Interface Design, Human Computer Interaction (HCI), Ergonomics

Natural language for cell phones


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