If I haven't mentioned it to you before, the Guide system is micro-prompting
assistive technology which helps people to complete the tasks of
daily living. It allows you to create a flowchart detailing how to
talk a user through completing a task. Guide gives prompts and asks
questions via speech synthesis. Users answer yes or no as they
progress through the problem space. Guide ensures that the user
sequences the task correctly. Guide helps users to live
independently without the need for human help when completing tasks
such as the morning routine, making tea, or using the washing
Anyway, at the moment the Guide system is a cross-platform
mobile app which runs on both iOS and Android devices. It downloads
the activities from the server, and uses local voice recognition on
the device, so that it can work in an offline environment. Users
can also schedule the activities on the device, for example the
morning routine can kick in at the same time every day.
You can sign up for Guide and
download the Android app for your device to try it out (you'll need
to get in touch if you're on iOS).
Our original assumption when we built this iteration of Guide
was that not all users would have reliable internet connections.
That is why we decided to use offline voice recognition. This
assumption now seems out of date. With the advent of the new
voice-activated devices like the Amazon Echo and Google Home, it
seems that voice has truly arrived into people's homes.
This is why we have our eye on the Alexa system for the next
iteration of Guide. We could leverage the excellent voice
recognition capabilities of the device, which are constantly being
improved by Amazon. So as a first step I've created a skill to
demonstrate Guide on Alexa so that we can prove it works and see
how users like it. It's written completely within the Alexa system,
using Node.js, and sitting on AWS Lambda. It's based on a much-simplified
tea-making activity, and you can try it out for yourself:
Tea Guide (UK
version) (or US
We'd love to hear your feedback!