Samstag, 17. Juli 2010

Astromobile Kickoff Meeting or Creating a Terminator powered by KDE

It's a very busy time for simon :). On Saturday I came back from a weeks worth of hacking and socializing on this years Akademy in Finland and just a couple of days later the whole simon team set off to the our next adventure: From Tuesday to Thursday we were attending the kick off meeting of our Astromobile project at the facilities of our project partner: The ARTS Lab of the Scuola Superiore Sant' Anna in Pisa.

In the Astromobile project we are trying to help seniors who are well able to take care of their daily routine but would benefit from a little assistance here and there.

Often these people don't want to have a full time care giver staying with them both for financial reasons but and to preserve their autonomy.

The Astromobile project tries to address this issue and bridge the gap between living autonomously and full on assisted living by creating a special robot that is able to for example remind seniors to take their medication, provide a way to call for help in case of an emergency as well as using modern technologies like video chats to set up a communication link with family and friends.

In this project, simon listens is responsible for the touch screen and the voice interface to the robot using our KDE4 based simon system.

Just after the introduction of the Scuola Superiore Sant' Anna by one of their professors our robot plattform - the SCITOS G5 from a german company called MetraLabs - arrived.

After coordinating the most important steps we received a short introduction to the internal workings of the robot plattform and were pleasently surprised when we booted it up for the first time.

Yes you are seeing the KDM login screen of Fedora 12 :)

(Full disclosure: The robot contains both GNOME and KDE and actually logs into GNOME by default - but still :)

We then got a quick walk through on how to talk to the many sensors, how to use the integrated path planning, mapping features and the script language, AngelScript, that is used to communicate to the robot platform.

During our stay we also got to see the living lab of the ARTS Lab which is basically a 200 square meter appartment containing lots of smart home prototypes. This is also the place where we will be testing our solution with elder people.

While we were in the area we also visited a pilot project which deployed automatic garbage disposal robots called "Dustbots" which were also developed by the Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna.

 They are running Ubuntu, btw :)

simon says: Hello Planet KDE!

This is the first blog post that is going to be aggregated to the planet and as such I feel that a short introduction is in order.

My name is Peter Grasch and for the past couple of years I have been working on an open source speech recognition software called simon.

With simon you can control your computer with voice commands.

simon uses the KDE 4 libraries, Julius and the HTK and is developed under the GPL license. You can find more information on our sourceforge page and in an interview on the dot.

Together with Franz Stieger, Mathias Stieger and Alexander Breznik I am also chairing the non profit research organization called "Simon Listens" which uses the simon software and other open source projects to research speech recognition and its applications through multiple research projects funded by the Austrian Benefit project and the European Union.

Through one of this projects I have also been lucky enough to be able to attend this years Akademy where I gave a talk and held a workshop about simon.

In Tampere I got the opportunity to, among many other interesting people, meet some of the KDE accessibility guys: Jeremy Whiting and Gunnar Schmidt. We discussed the current state of accessibility in KDE SC, the most pressing problems and how they could be tackled.

There is definitely a lot of work laying ahead of us but there are also some highly motivated people (yes Jeremy, I am looking at you :) working on this.

So lets join forces, buckle down and try to make KDE SC accessible to everybody!

Dienstag, 6. Juli 2010

Day 4 at Akademy

Well the conference part of Akademy already ended on Sunday so for the past two days I've been hacking at Demola.

So far:

  • I met Jeremy Whiting, a KDE accessibility guy and had a very interesting discussion about kttsd and speech dispatcher.

  • I attended the KDE Accessibility BoF which was sadly more like a list of things KDE desparately needs to do. To all KDE developers out there: We need to do more!

  • I became a "Nokia Certified Qt Developer"! Yay :)

  • I broke my entire desktop because after seeing all those cool features in the current KDE trunk I just had to try it :P

And of course I am already working on new features in the simon suite (ssc at the moment, actually).

Also, my presentation is already online.

To everyone at Akademy or somewhere near Tampere: The simon Workshop is tomorrow from 9:30 to 11:00 in Area 2. Hopefully I'll see you there!

Sonntag, 4. Juli 2010

simon at Akademy

Ok first of all: Akademy is awesome.

But today, for me, it kinda got serious: My first international talk :)

Well everything went fine - more or less - and even tough we were a bit pressed for time (aseigos keynote ran a bit longer but it was well worth the time), I think I got the most important ideas behind simon across.

The presentations were all recorded so those who where not able to be there in person can watch it online soon.

So far the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and has resulted in many fruitful discussions.

In other news common knowledge, KDE devs are really nice and exceptionally smart people so I am really looking forward to the coming days and the upcoming hacking sessions, workshops and BoFs.

Samstag, 3. Juli 2010

simon 0.3 alpha 3

Just a short post because I am actually sitting in an Akademy presentation right now: simon 0.3 alpha 3 was released which contains some critical fixes (no new features).

You can download it on sourceforge.