New Voice Selfie App Takes Photos Using Custom Phrases

Ever have trouble getting a selfie with your friends because you can’t position your camera and thumb correctly at the same time? The new Voice Selfie app for Android created by speech tech developer Sensory solves that problem by replacing your thumb with a voice command. You can even customize the phrase to whatever you want, thanks to Sensory’s TrulyHandsfree software.

Photo Command

Voice Selfie comes with several preset phrases, but it can be anything you want. You type out the phrase you’d like, then repeat it four times so the software can learn how you say it. Then, whenever the app is open you can take a photo by speaking the phrase aloud. Timing, flash, and other settings are also adjustable as they would be within the standard camera app. You can set up a group shot perfectly and not have to run in and out of frame to start the camera timer, for instance, or just take a self-portrait without needing a photographer or a selfie stick.

“We set all the responses really loose so you can walk 100 feet away and still use it if it’s not too loud, (or use it in high noise with 20 feet or so),” Sensory CEO Todd Mozer said in an email with Voicebot. “The user defined trigger is really really cool. I’m amazed more devices don’t let the end user choose their own wakewords. It makes it more fun for the consumer and removes false alarms from background noises like TV or music.”


While Voice Selfie is a fun app, it’s also a good demonstration of Sensory’s TrulyHandsfree wake word engine. The company updated the tech in December to be able to understand more than one wake word command. That means not only that a voice assistant could respond to custom commands as Voice Selfie does, but that a single smart speaker could run more than one voice assistant simultaneously. Understanding and sorting different wake words is still a relatively new breakthrough in commercial voice tech. Sensory has overcome this hurdle, likely in part because it acquired voice testing tech startup Vocalize in early 2019. Plus, Sensory’s low-power operations means it’s usable in mobile devices without draining the battery.

TrulyHandsFree is also designed for the Voice Interoperability Initiative (VII) created by Amazon and other companies in September to accomplish that goal and build a platform that can support more than one voice assistant. Sensory launched a platform for smart home appliances at the end of last year that demonstrates both aspects, with custom wake words and no need to send data to the cloud to run the software. But, before you do that, take a selfie.


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