Mycroft Mark II is bringing big changes to the voice assistant market. Mycroft, as a company, challenges their competition with their dedication to community and privacy.
Unlike other voice assistants, both the Mark I and Mark II Open Voice Assistant created by Mycroft are open source, meaning that the code used to program both assistants is available for free to the consumer audience.
Furthermore, Mycroft has an established and strong belief in the privacy of its audience; unlike other voice assistants, which record conversations in order to collect data about users, both Mycroft’s Mark I and Mark II are entirely secure.
The Mark II Open Voice Assistant, open for backing on Kickstarter, looks to expand the access of voice assistance to a wider audience.
It offers excellent voice recognition and customization unseen in its competition. Mycroft goes above and beyond for their audience in committing to the creation of a voice assistant that is, as they say, “private, custom,” and “open.”
Mycroft: Forming a Community
Mycroft found their way to Kickstarter in 2015. Having partnered with a number of open source enthusiasts, the Mark I of their Open Voice Assistant is accessible on laptops, in cars, and anywhere the internet is accessible.
Their versatility and scope have delivered this Open Voice Assistant to 56 different countries and 38 states.
Mycroft prides themselves in their connection to their audience and the open source community. Their team of seventeen experts brings a wide variety of much-needed skills to the creation of their voice assistants.
Mycroft Mark II: The Evolution
Mycroft’s Mark II Open Voice Assistant is set to build on the technological foundation that Mark I established, running on Linux or Raspberry Pie, depending on the preference of its user.
This is just one of the ways that the Mark II challenges the voice assistant market; it keeps its community at its core with its opportunities for customization.
- Size: 7.72 inches x 4.15 inches wide
- Screen: 4-inch IPS LCD touchscreen
- Microphone: Far-field six-microphone array
- Wi-Fi: Yes
- Bluetooth: Yes
- Power Supply: 3.5mm audio out-of-d18W power supply with international adapters
The Mark II, as has been mentioned, puts customization first.
You, the user, can program the Mark II with a specific wake word that will allow it to wake up alongside you as well as play specific playlists or turn off alarms that you’ve previously set to ensure that you start your morning off properly.
The Mark II’s ability to understand language and slang is also an essential part of its programming.
The voice assistant takes advantage of machine learning in order to better understand the details of your speech; it can respond to programmed and learned requests with equal efficiency.
It will not be hindered by additional noise in a room thanks to its impressive microphone and stereo set up.
Six individual microphones, partnered with acoustic echo cancellation, noise reduction, and beamforming ensure that, no matter where you are or what other stimuli is in the way, the Mark II will be able to respond to your commands.
The Mark II also includes a speech-to-text function as well as a text-to-speech function, making communication with the device itself all the easier, either by phone or in person.
Beyond these features, the Mark II can also tell time, set timers, interact with the Internet of Things established in your home, provide weather updates, access your calendar, and hold conversations.
You have the opportunity to program its interface and make use of personalized “faces” and widgets. You can also choose from a variety of assistant voices to improve your interactions with the Mark II.
Other features include:
- Xilinx quad-core processor
- Hardward AEC
- USB Type A
- MicroSD card slot
- Code based in Python
Benefits and Release of the Mycroft Mark II
The Mark II is presently in production, and the final product is set for release in October 2018. The final Mark II package will include the Mark II itself, a power supply, and a quick start guide.
For contributors, there are a variety of benefits available based on the level at which said contributors are willing to commit.
Anyone who supports at $129 or less will have near immediate access to Mycroft’s Mark I Voice Assistant, with different levels offering access to webinars, stickers, challenge coins, or a build-it-yourself kit.
Contributors who back the Mark II at $130 or more will have access to the Mark II in either April or December 2018, based on their preferred level of commitment.
Mycroft has said that, in their continued improvement of their voice assistants, they intend to create an open source assistant that interacts with their audience as though it was another person.
This goal, partnered with Mycroft’s commitment to open source material and the privacy of their audience, puts them at an advantage in the voice assistant market and makes the Mark II all the more appealing as a staple in the technologically advanced home.
Are you willing to give the Mycroft Mark II a try?