A job listing discovered on LinkedIn seems to indicate that Sony is aggressively pursuing voice recognition technology. A post from April 30, 2013 sough a “Speech Recognition Engineering Intern” as well as someone capable of handling “speech noise reduction, speech detection, recognition, noisy rejection, and grammar processing under various environments.”
The listing adds that the candidate would need to tackle “robust speech feature extraction and signal processing for speech enhancement” and “speech enhance and processing of noisy speech with human voice in the background.”
They would also “engage some initial research off signal separation and neural network processing,” “run evaluation and research on keyword spotting” and “conduct some experiment on robust small vocabulary CSR with noisy speech.”
A lot of that goes a bit over my head, but if nothing else it shows that Sony is very interested in speech recognition. With the PlayStation 4 just over the horizon, that would be the obvious answer. This is especially true considering the specs released in February mentioned a camera with a “four channel microphone array.”
Analysts are pointing out that Microsoft’s Kinect already has a similar suite of features in place, so it could be that Sony is now rushing to catch up during for their console launch. The PS4 is currently set for a 2014 release, although no specific release date has been set.