Three college seniors at Quy Nhon University in the south-central province of Binh Dinh are proudly celebrating bagging the grand prize at a local start up competition for their cleverly designed smart-lights.
Vo Nguyen Duc Tri, Vo Thanh Nhan, and Nguyen Thi Diem Phuc's voice-controlled invention was inspired by the need for a device to aid physically impaired Vietnamese in turning their lights on and off without the need for Bluetooth or an Internet connection.
The trio, all finance and banking majors, spent over a hundred hours recording voice samples of Vietnamese dialects from around the country before inputting them into an algorithm that allows the device to independently process speech for the control of neon lighting strips.
One of their invention's major features is that it is not activated when words resembling the stored commands are recognized in regular conversation.
In other words, operating commands must be made in isolation.
All of the materials for the smart-light device are readily available in Vietnam which helped the group keep their total costs at just VND20,000 (under US$1) – far cheaper than other products with the same function currently sold in Vietnam, Tri said.
Similar devices already sold in Vietnam can turn lights on and off by sensing human body temperature, motion, and hand clapping.
There are other products that can recognize voice commands but they rely on coupling with a smartphone through Bluetooth or Internet connection.
The student's next goal is forming a company to mass-produce similar voice-controls for electric fans and sockets
The judges at the competition were not shy to give their blessing, saying the device holds great promise for commercial success.
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