Consumer electronics devices could soon be talking back to their owners by way of interactive user manuals.
For years the consumer electronics industry has suffered what it calls the 'flashing zeros' problem, where consumers make excessive use of helpdesks because of their unwillingness or inability to read instruction manuals. It is typified by the flashing zeros of an unset video recorder.
But Russian company Spirit has come up with a new form of compression software that can be used to install interactive voice manuals for customers.
"The core of the system is a voice compression system so you can store speech more effectively," said Richard White, managing director of Spirit's UK reseller Kane Computing.
"If you want to set the time on the video you can let the machine talk you through it, and the same thing can be done for phones and TVs. It's also got potential for call centres and other high speech applications to record speech for regulatory purposes."
The digital signal processing (DSP) software compresses the speech and is built as a separate chip onto the motherboard by the manufacturer.
Toshiba is currently looking at the system, said Kane Computing, and Texas Instruments is already using Spirit's DSP software in its chipsets.
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