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Wearable smart camera understands silent voice commands


The wearable infrared camera can see what you're saying.
The wearable infrared camera can see what you're saying.
Photo: Cheng Zhang@Cornell University

Ever been in a situation where your hands aren’t free but you can’t speak out loud to Siri voice assistant, either? There could be a camera coming that understands your voice commands even if you’re not making a sound.

Two Cornell University researchers created a wearable infrared smart camera that detects voice commands not by sound, but by measuring movements in the neck and face from under the chin.

Siri Shortcuts app is now ready for testing


Siri Shortcuts
iOS developers can now play with a beta version of Siri Shortcuts.
Photo: iPhone Hacks

Apple said Siri would be smarter with iOS 12. The digital assistant will also multitask with the help of a native app.

A single command will kick Siri into high gear through an app called Siri Shortcuts, now available in a beta version to developers through the TestFlight platform.

Spotify skips Siri with new voice command feature


You won't have to listen to music you don't like.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Music service Spotify has added a voice search feature to its iOS app that allows users to find song tracks, albums, and playlists.

The new test feature takes Siri out of the equation. With Apple trying to grow its music streaming service, it never allowed Spotify to integrate with Siri, including with Apple’s first smart speaker, HomePod.

Leaked HomePod sounds are absolutely delightful


Apple's new HomePod smart speaker is ready to rock your house.
HomePod will launch in December, but supplies will be constrained.
Photo: Apple

Apple’s latest firmware for the unreleased HomePod revealed a new set of sounds that the smart speaker will use to indicate various user interactions.

The new tones for the Siri-powered speaker sound different from the ones leaked in a previous firmware build. They also serve different purposes. While the sounds are simple, they are quite lovely — and worthy of a $350 speaker.

Take a listen:

Pro Tip: Use Siri without all the loud play-by-play


Hush it down, Siri. Hush it down.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Pro Tip Cult of Mac bugYou know how it is: You press and hold the Home button to set a quick timer and Siri comes back all loud, “OK! Setting the timer! I’m in suspense!”

Or some such nonsense. Sure, you want to confirm that Siri’s not, say, adding an event to your calendar or calling your Aunt Tilly instead of setting a timer, but maybe you don’t need Apple’s AI helper to be all chatty about it.

Here’s how you can tamp down Siri’s sometimes-annoying banter.