A group of students from the HCMC Information Technology has invented Umind, a virtual assistant which can listen, understand and respond in Vietnamese. It can give strong support to elderly drivers and to the disabled.
Drivers often have to look at mobile phone screens when using direction apps. The students wanted to invent something that allowed a driver to to a smartphone.
The virtual assistant can control the device with voice. Therefore, with Umind, users can interact with the device and there is no need to touch the screen.
Umind has many other functions, such as giving directions, setting alarms, scheduling of work and teaching cooking. To receive instructions on directions, one just needs to speak and the system will find positions and show the shortest way to the destination.
Regarding the alarm, users just need to say ‘wake me up at 6 am’, and the alarm will be set up.
“No need to hire an assistant girl or bring to-do lists. With Umind, you can be sure that your working schedule will be arranged in a scientific way and you will be alerted,” said Ho Nguyen Anh Phong, a student.
Umind can also connect with many IoT devices and home electrical devices, so that the users can operate devices.
“Imagine that you have gone to bed and you have recalled that you forgot to turn off the lamp in the living room. You have gone out of your home and remembered that you forgot to turn off the air conditioners. If so, you just need to give command, Umind will do these for you,” Nguyen Viet Quoc, the head of the team, said.
According to Quoc, it took five years to research and five months to complete the product.
The inventors know that there are many advanced virtual assistants in the market. However, they wanted to create an assistant which can understand and give answers in Vietnamese.
The app has three components – converting voice into text, processing the language and converting text into voice. Each part is attached to a separate module.
Of the three parts, the language processing was the most challenging, because of the complexity of Vietnamese.
The app has a special capability – learning. “Just within one hour, users can teach Umind one more function,” Quoc said.