On October 17, 2013, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a series of four new Siri patent applications that were filed under Tom Gruber who was one of the original co-founders of Siri. Gruber was the man behind an in-depth Apple patent application which we covered back in January 2012 titled "Apple introduces us to Siri, the Killer Patent." While Apple has yet to take assignment, you could be assured that they will. Our report briefly covers the four Siri related patents that include coverage of Siri for vehicles. This is going to be a part of Apple's forthcoming iOS for the Car application debuting in 2014.
1. Hands-Free List-Reading by Siri, the Intelligent Automated Assistant or "Virtual Assistant"
The Patent Abstract: The invention relates to systems and methods for providing hands-free reading of content comprising: identifying a plurality of data items for presentation to a user, the plurality of data items associated with a domain-specific item type and sorted according to a particular order; based on the domain-specific item type, generating a speech-based overview of the plurality of data items; for each of the plurality of data items, generating a respective speech-based, item-specific paraphrase for the data item based on respective content of the data item; and providing, to a user through the speech-enabled dialogue interface, the speech-based overview, followed by the respective speech-based, item-specific paraphrases for at least a subset of the plurality of data items in the particular order.
We covered a related patent back in January 2012 titled "Apple's Second Siri Patent Discusses All Things Hands-Free. For more details on today's application, see Apple's patent.
2. Automatically Adapting User Interfaces for Hands-Free Interaction
The Patent Abstract: The invention relates to a method which includes automatically, without user input and without regard to whether a digital assistant application has been separately invoked by a user, determines that the electronic device is in a vehicle.
Apple's patent states that 'While the user is traveling in a moving vehicle (e.g., driving or sitting in a car), the user can make calls, and preview what reminders will be triggered next or soon. Reminders for calls can form a meaningful group since the calls can be made in series in one sitting (e.g., while the user is traveling in a car).
That spells out "iOS for the Car" service using Siri. See "Apple Takes the Lead in the Next Battlefront: Advanced Eyes-Free Services for the Car" as well as "Apple Patent Reveals New Advances Coming to "iOS for the Car"
In some implementations, determining that the electronic device is in a vehicle comprises detecting that the electronic device is in communication with the vehicle (e.g., via a wired or wireless communication techniques and/or protocols).
The method also includes, responsive to the determining, invoking a listening mode of a virtual assistant implemented by the electronic device. In some implementations, the method also includes limiting the ability of a user to view visual output presented by the electronic device, provide typed input to the electronic device, and the like.
This particular Siri patent is incredibly in-depth and should be reviewed to fully appreciate the research that's going into Apple's virtual assistant. For more, see Apple's patent.
The other two major Siri related patents that were published today by the US Patent Office include: #3. – "Application Gateway for Providing Different User Interfaces for Limited Distraction and Non-Limited Distraction Contexts"; and finally #4 – "Intelligent Automated Assistant"
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