Techcrunch ran an article last week scooping the fact that Intel acquired a Spanish natural language startup back in May of this year. The acquired company was called Indisys and they specialized in computational linguistics and virtual agent (or “intelligence assistant”) technologies. Ingrid Lunden of Techcrunch speculates that Intel will use the Indisys technology to continue building out its “perceptual computing” framework.
Perceptual computing is the term that Intel seems to have coined for software than can sense a user’s motions and gestures to control the user interface. Intel offers a perceptual computing software developer kit (SDK) that developers can use in conjunction with a special camera to create gesture-based games and other interactive software.
So how does natural language fit into the vision for perceptual computing? There’s an obvious link between gesturing and speaking. One can imagine that besides just motioning at a game to get the onscreen character to move, a player would like to be able to give verbal commands as well. Interacting with software by gesturing and talking has implications beyond gaming platforms. In her Techcrunch article, Lunden mentions that Intel has demonstrated multiple devices that showcase their “gesture and natural language recognition business.”
Now that Intel has purchased Indisys, they’ll have at least the basis for advanced language recognition and even virtual agent technologies to incorporate into their product set. It remains to be seen how perceptual computing and conversational software will intersect.