Apple’s patent application to minimise mistaken Siri activations

Apple are now conducting research on ways in which they can improve their virtual assistant, Siri. It is safe to say that most of us have been in a position where Siri appears to begin talking, without being addressed and in times of need, the feature can be sure to ignore you, demonstrating clear inconsistency. The latter doesn’t sit right with Apple, as the company are aiming to change just that.

A way in which this aims to be achieved is programming Siri to assess how interested a user appears when talking. A previous patent filed by Apple was set to assess a user’s emotions through the front camera when speaking to the virtual assistant. However, their new patent application aims to discover whether you are even in contact with or using the device at all, in order to avoid unnecessary confusion or speech from Siri.

Further explanations suggest that a way to determine one’s interest is by having the device camera detect your gaze. For instance, if looking directly at the camera when addressing Siri, the device can be almost certain that you are intentionally looking to use the feature. Alternatively, you could address Siri and then immediately be distracted. So, the patent application also assesses the length of time from saying “Hey Siri” until the point of potential command. However, the patent avoids the specification of a duration, instead saying that each time will differ dependent upon scenario. Nevertheless, there is still more focus on the assessment of interest rather than duration. Apple are simply looking to maximise the performance of their devices and to avoid any unnecessary action from its virtual assistant.

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