(19)
(11)EP 3 089 160 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
27.11.2019 Bulletin 2019/48

(21)Application number: 16168856.9

(22)Date of filing:  27.02.2013
(51)Int. Cl.: 
G10L 15/22  (2006.01)
H04W 52/02  (2009.01)
G10L 15/30  (2013.01)
H04M 1/725  (2006.01)
H04M 1/60  (2006.01)

(54)

METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR VOICE CONTROL OF A MOBILE DEVICE

VERFAHREN UND VORRICHTUNG FÜR DIE SPRACHSTEUERUNG EINER MOBILEN VORRICHTUNG

PROCÉDÉ ET APPAREIL POUR LA COMMANDE VOCALE D'UN DISPOSITIF MOBILE


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(43)Date of publication of application:
02.11.2016 Bulletin 2016/44

(62)Application number of the earlier application in accordance with Art. 76 EPC:
13157062.4 / 2772908

(73)Proprietor: BlackBerry Limited
Waterloo, ON N2K 0A7 (CA)

(72)Inventors:
  • ABDELSAMIE, Ahmed
    Nepean, Ontario K2J0C9 (CA)
  • CHOO, Nicholas Shane
    Calgary, Alberta T3A6G8 (CA)
  • ZHANG, Guowei
    Kitchener, Ontario N2G1E9 (CA)
  • BARAKE, Omar George Joseph
    Waterloo, Ontario N2K4C6 (CA)
  • LILL, Steven Anthony
    Waterloo, Ontario N2L2B7 (CA)

(74)Representative: MERH-IP Matias Erny Reichl Hoffmann Patentanwälte PartG mbB 
Paul-Heyse-Strasse 29
80336 München
80336 München (DE)


(56)References cited: : 
US-A1- 2010 330 908
US-B1- 8 165 886
US-A1- 2013 045 676
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description

    FIELD



    [0001] The present disclosure relates generally to mobile devices. More particularly, the present disclosure relates to a method and apparatus for voice control of a mobile device.

    BACKGROUND



    [0002] Mobile devices, for example, smart phones, tablet computers, and the like have become heavily used in everyday life. Many users change their behavior to accommodate their mobile device use. As many jurisdictions have enacted laws against use of mobile devices while driving, users wish to have the ability to continue use of the mobile device applications in a hands-free manner.

    [0003] Typical hands-free systems require users to initiate a hands-free message or call by pressing a button or other activation feature in order to initiate a hands-free mode in which the system is listening for commands. Hands-free mode then allows the user to control the mobile device using voice commands. Generally, mobile devices need to be set to hands-free mode for voice control because, if the mobile device was left in a continuous listening mode, the device could pick up spoken words that are not intended as commands, and also the power requirements of monitoring for voice commands could quickly drain a mobile device's battery. Because of the power requirements, mobile devices will also typically require further user interaction if the hands-free mode is exited or times-out. Therefore, there is a need for an improved method and apparatus for voice control of a mobile device.

    [0004] US2010330908 (A1) describes a system and method for providing wireless voice-controlled walk-through pairing and other functionality of telecommunications. A headset, speaker or other device equipped with a microphone can receive a voice command directly from the user, recognize the command, and then perform functions on a communications device, such as a mobile telephone. The functions can, for example, include requesting the telephone call a number from its address book. The functions can also include advanced control of the communications device, such as pairing the device with an audio headset, or another Bluetooth device.

    [0005] US8165886 (B1) discloses a speech processing system which exploits statistical modeling and formal logic to receive and process speech input, which may represent data to be received, such as dictation, or commands to be processed by an operating system, application or process. A command dictionary and dynamic grammars are used in processing speech input to identify, disambiguate and extract commands. The logical processing scheme ensures that putative commands are complete and unambiguous before processing. Context sensitivity may be employed to differentiate data and commands. A multi faceted graphic user interface may be provided for interaction with a user to speech enable interaction with applications and processes that do not necessarily have native support for speech input.

    [0006] In US2013045676 (A1), an electronic system includes a first wireless transceiving module having a device identification code and a portable device. The portable device may include a second wireless transceiving module, and a processor. The second wireless transceiving module obtains the device identification code from the first wireless transceiving module. When the second wireless transceiving module obtains the device identification code from the first wireless transceiving module, the processor checks whether the device identification code matches to a pre-built identification code; and when the device identification code matches to the pre-built identification code, the portable device automatically determines a position of the portable device, and displays a map related to the position of the portable device in a display.

    SUMMARY



    [0007] In a first aspect, the present disclosure provides a method for voice control of a mobile device according to claim 1.

    [0008] In yet another aspect, a mobile device is provided according to claim 9.

    [0009] According to another aspect herein, there is provided a computer readable medium comprising computer readable code that, when executed on a computer device, perform the method for voice control as described above.

    [0010] Other aspects and features of the present disclosure will become apparent to those ordinarily skilled in the art upon review of the following description of specific embodiments in conjunction with the accompanying figures.

    BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



    [0011] The invention is defined in the appended claims. All following occurrences of the word "embodiment(s)", if referring to feature combinations different from those defined by the independent claims, refer to examples which were originally filed but which do not represent embodiments of the presently claimed invention; these examples are still shown for illustrative purposes only. Embodiments of the present disclosure will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to the attached Figures.

    Fig. 1 illustrates an embodiment of a system for voice control;

    Fig. 2 is a flowchart illustrating a method for voice control;

    Fig. 3 is a flowchart of a method for receiving and processing a verbal command;

    Fig. 4 is a flowchart of a method for receiving communication with the system for voice control;

    Fig. 5 is a use-case diagram of sending an instant message with the system for voice control; and

    Fig. 6 is a use-case diagram of receiving an instant message with the system for voice control.


    DETAILED DESCRIPTION



    [0012] Generally, the present disclosure provides embodiments of a method and apparatus for voice control of a mobile device. More particularly, the embodiments herein provide for an apparatus, for example, a voice control system or module, establishing a connection with the mobile device, which triggers the mobile device to enter an intermediate mode. The voice control module then monitors for verbal input from a user. On receipt of the verbal input, the voice control module may determine or identify a command phrase issued by the user from the command phrase. A command phrase includes a command and may also include required or optional arguments associated with the command. Once the command phrase has been received, the voice control module transmits instructions to the mobile device to execute the command and, when received, using the associated arguments. Unlike conventional hands-free systems, that still require the user to push a button or otherwise activate a "voice-mode" on the mobile device, the present embodiments are intended to allow for initiating hands-free control of the mobile device without requiring physical input.

    [0013] Figure 1 illustrates an embodiment of an apparatus or system 100 for voice control. The apparatus 100 for voice control includes a voice control module (VCM) 110 that is configured to connect with a mobile device 200. In particular, the VCM 110 contains a connection module 120 that enables a connection 199 with a corresponding connection module 210 of the mobile device 200. The connection 199 may be a wireless connection, for example, a Bluetooth™ pairing or other connection, as known in the art.

    [0014] Once a connection 199 is established between the connection module 120 of the VCM 110 and the connection module 210 of the mobile device 200, the mobile device 200 is placed into an intermediate mode. The intermediate mode may be initiated by the VCM 110 sending instructions to the mobile device 200. Alternatively, the mobile device 200 itself may enter the intermediate mode, upon recognizing the connection 199 to the VCM 110. For example, once the connection 199 has been established, the connection module 210 may trigger a processor 220 within the mobile device 200 to enter into the intermediate mode. In the intermediate mode, one or more functions or processes may be disabled, such as, for example, disabling a network connection (not shown) such as a Wi-Fi™ connection or unneeded Bluetooth™ connection (for example, to a device such as an external keyboard (not shown) or the like), turning off a display screen (not shown), turning off the ability to receive voice commands, and the like. In particular, the intermediate mode may involve disabling functions or processes that are not typically used when in a voice control mode via the VCM 110. The intermediate mode of the mobile device 200 is intended to allow the mobile device to reduce power consumption while still allowing the mobile device to process commands from the VCM 110 or process new events such as receiving a phone call or the like. The processor 220 may be separate from but operatively connected with the connection module 210, or the processor 220 and the connection module 210 may be a single component.

    [0015] The VCM 110 further includes a monitoring module 130. The monitoring module 130 monitors for verbal input from a user and, as described herein; in particular, it monitors for a command phrase from the user. The monitoring module 130 either includes or is operatively connected to a microphone 140 for receiving verbal input and to a speaker 150 for outputting audio. The user may be able to alter the volume of the microphone 140 and/or the speaker 150 through either the mobile device 200 or the VCM 110.

    [0016] The monitoring module 130 is further connected to a processor 160. Once the monitoring module 130 detects verbal input from the user, the monitoring module 130 will relay the verbal input to the processor 160. The verbal input may be processed either before or after sending to the processor 160 using various known digital signal processing (DSP) techniques to parse the verbal input.

    [0017] The processor 160 is operatively connected to a memory module 170, which may be, for example a database. The processor 160 parses the verbal input to determine the command phrase. The command phrase may be parsed to determine the verbal command and any further arguments the user has issued. The processor 160 compares the verbal command to a set of predetermined verbal commands stored within the memory module 170. The set of predetermined verbal commands may include verbal commands corresponding to communication applications, and the communication applications may include at least one of the following: telephone, instant message, voice message, short message service (SMS), multimedia message service (MMS), e-mail message.

    [0018] A predetermined verbal command may be associated with one or more accompanying arguments, i.e., data that more particularly specifies how that command is to be executed or that consists of communication content to be sent; arguments may be required or optional. For example, a command for a new email may require a recipient and a message and may have optional data, such as a subject, while a command for an instant message may require a recipient and a message and may have options such as a choice of a text or a voice message.

    [0019] As noted above, the verbal input is parsed by the monitoring module 130 or the processor 160, and the processor 160 is configured to determine whether all required arguments, if any, have been received from the user. If it is determined that all required arguments for a particular verbal command have been obtained, the processor 160 will send information related to the verbal command and the arguments to a communications module 180, which will create and send instructions related to executing the command to the mobile device 200 via the connection module 120. It will be understood that the communications module 180 may be a part of processor 160 or of connection module 120.

    [0020] On the other hand, if it is determined that one or more required arguments associated with the command are still required, the VCM 110 is configured to request additional verbal input from the user. In particular, the VCM 110 may issue a prompt, based on an associated argument, for further verbal input. In some cases, the VCM 110 may identify verbal input comprising arguments associated with the verbal command by identifying an argument based on a predetermined set of possible responses stored at the voice-control module. For example, if there is no recipient given for an instant message or phone call command, the VCM 110 will prompt the user to specify the recipient. If the argument relates to a recipient for a communication, the VCM 110 may compare the verbal input received with a predetermined list of potential recipients and/or prompt the user based on a predetermined list of potential recipients. Prompting using the predetermined list may include reading the predetermined list to the user or a subset of the predetermined list. The use of a predetermined list of potential recipients at the VCM 110 is intended to allow for more efficient recognition of recipients and also further reduce battery use at the mobile device 200, since the mobile device 200 will not be used to provide the prompting for arguments. It will be understood that a similar approach may be used for other arguments such as subject line, message body, or the like.

    [0021] The mobile device 200 further includes a monitoring module 230. The monitoring module 230 monitors for instructions from the VCM 110 via the connection module 210. The connection module 210 or monitoring module 230 of the mobile device 200 will then relay the instructions to the processor 220.

    [0022] The monitoring module 230 may further monitor incoming communication to the mobile device 200. For example, when the mobile device 200 is in the intermediate mode, the monitoring module 230 may detect the receipt of a communication, for example, a phone call, a new instant message or email and then provide instructions to the VCM 110 with regard to announcing information related to the received communication.

    [0023] The VCM 110 may be integrated into a vehicle or may be a stand-alone device that can be mounted to a windshield visor or otherwise be provided within the vehicle. The VCM 110 may further include a power source 190, for example, a battery. Alternatively, the VCM 110 may be powered by a power connection (not shown) to the vehicle.

    [0024] The VCM 110 may be configured to receive data including audio files such as voice clips. In some cases, the user may prefer to include audio files which are intended to allow a recipient to hear the tone of the message. In some cases, the VCM 110 may include a speech-to-text module (not shown) for converting speech to text when requested or required, for example, if an application requires a text file rather than an audio file. In some other embodiments, the VCM 110 may include a video capture module for applications where video data may be communicated.

    [0025] Figure 2 illustrates a flowchart of an embodiment of a method 300 for voice control of a mobile device. At 310, a connection 199 is established between a VCM 110 and a mobile device 200. The connection 199 may be a wired or wireless connection. In some cases, the connection 199 is a Bluetooth™ connection. At 320, the mobile device 200 enters into an intermediate mode once the connection 199 is established. The intermediate mode is as described above. At 390, when the mobile device is in intermediate mode, the mobile device 200 will monitor for instructions from the VCM 110 as well as monitor for the receipt of a communication.

    [0026] At 330, the VCM 110 monitors to determine if a user issues a verbal input. In some cases, the VCM 110 may begin to monitor when the connection with the mobile device 200 is established. In other cases, the VCM 110 may begin monitoring prior to having the connection established. The connection 199 between the VCM 110 and the mobile device 200 is intended to be established when the VCM 110 and mobile device 200 are in proximity to each other, for example, when a user enters a car, and, once established, is intended to remain established even after executing instructions or commands. The connection 199 may end or be terminated either automatically (as configured) or by the user when, for example, the user exits a car or the user enters an area where hands-free communication is no longer required or preferred by the user.

    [0027] At 340, the VCM 110 detects a verbal input from the user. At 350, the verbal input is parsed and processed by the VCM 110 to determine whether a command phrase has been received. In determining whether or not a command phrase has been received, the verbal input can be compared to the set of predetermined verbal commands to determine an intended command. The verbal input/command phrase can then be further parsed into a verbal command and any arguments associated with the verbal command. If the verbal input does not include a verbal command from the set of predetermined commands, typically no action is taken. However, in some embodiments, the VCM 110 may query as to whether a command is intended, provide a list of acceptable commands (sometimes referred to as a hotlist) or prompt the user to retry the verbal input. The VCM 110 may determine similar commands and may attempt to guide the user to a command from the set of predetermined commands by listing available commands or the like.

    [0028] At 360, instructions, based on the command and any arguments, are sent from the VCM 110 to the mobile device 200 as shown by the dotted arrow 365. The instructions may include, for example, instructions for the mobile device 200 to launch an application appropriate for the command, such as an email application in the case of an email command.

    [0029] The VCM 110 may continue to monitor for verbal input, at 330 once the instructions have been sent in order to determine whether the user is giving another or further verbal input. The VCM 110 may continue to monitor until the connection 199 between the mobile device 200 and the VCM 110 has been ended or until the user issues a command directing the VCM 110 to end the monitoring.

    [0030] At 370, the mobile device 200 receives the instructions related to the command. At 380, the mobile device 200 processes the command and performs the user requested action. In general, the command is executed to complete the task requested by the user, for example sending an email, sending an instant message, or placing a phone call.

    [0031] In some cases, the VCM 110 may send the instructions to the mobile device 200 in steps or stages. Once the communication application the user wishes to use is known, based on the received command phrase or verbal command, the VCM 110 may send instructions for the mobile device to launch the appropriate application. Once the VCM 110 has collected arguments associated with the command, such as a recipient of a communication, a message to be sent or the like, the VCM 110 then sends the associated arguments to the mobile device, allowing the mobile device to complete the action requested by the user of the system 100 for voice control.

    [0032] At 390, after the instructions have been acted upon by the mobile device 200, the mobile device continues monitoring for instructions from the VCM 110.

    [0033] Figure 3 illustrates a flow chart of an embodiment of a method 400 for receiving and processing a verbal input by the VCM 110. This method is performed by the VCM 110, typically after the VCM 110 is connected with the mobile device 200 and while the mobile device 200 remains in the intermediate mode. However, the VCM 110 may also be configured to take command phrases and store them until a connection 199 is established with the mobile device 200. At 410, the VCM 110 receives verbal input, via the microphone 140 and the monitoring module 130. At 420, the verbal input is then parsed by the VCM 110 into words.

    [0034] At 430, the VCM 110 reviews and compares the verbal input to determine whether a command phrase is included in the verbal input. In particular, the VCM 110 compares the parsed verbal input against a set of predetermined verbal commands stored in the memory module 170. If a verbal command is present, the VCM 110 may also retrieve any arguments associated with the verbal command from the verbal input/command phrase. At 440, the VCM 110 further reviews the parsed verbal input to determine if all required arguments have been received for the received verbal command. At 450, if any of the required arguments associated with the command have not been received, the VCM 110 will request the user to provide further verbal input having the associated arguments. As described above, the verbal input for an argument may be compared or identified based on a set of predetermined arguments. In a specific example, if there is no recipient provided for a communication command, such as an instant message command, the VCM 110 will prompt the user to specify the recipient. In determining whether or not a recipient has been specified, the VCM 110 may compare the arguments from the command phrase with a predetermined set of potential recipients that are stored in the memory module 170.

    [0035] If after prompting the user, the VCM 110 determines the required arguments are still incomplete, the VCM 110 will issue a further request for verbal input from the user, at 450. The VCM 110 will continue to request further verbal input until all the required arguments have been received or until the user stops the process by exiting or ending the method for receiving and processing a verbal input. In some embodiments, the VCM 110 may recite a list of the potential recipients or a subset of the potential recipients, such as, for example, a list of recently used recipients.

    [0036] In some cases, the VCM 110 may further determine if there are optional arguments, for example, the option to include further recipients to a message or include a subject in an email, and may prompt the user to determine if the user would like to include any optional arguments with the command.

    [0037] At 460, once the required arguments have been received and determined to be complete, the VCM 110 will send instructions related to the command and the associated arguments to the mobile device 200. The instructions may include a command to activate a related communication application, compose a message to the specified recipient, and the like. Once the mobile device 200 processes the instructions, the mobile device 200 remains in the intermediate mode and continues to monitor for further instructions from the VCM 110. In some cases, the VCM 110 will send initial instructions to the mobile device 200 to take an action such as opening a communication application. The mobile device 200 will active the application related to the command and wait for secondary instructions with respect to the command to be performed and/or the arguments that are required.

    [0038] Figure 4 illustrates a flow chart of an embodiment of a method 500 for receiving a communication with the system 100 for voice control. At 510, a communication, for example, a phone call, an email, a meeting reminder, an instant message or the like, is received by the mobile device 200. In one case (as illustrated), the VCM 110 may act as a conduit for the communication. In this case, at 530, the communication is converted to audio at the mobile device. For example, the text of an email or instant message, or the details such as the phone number and caller identification, may be converted to audio. At 540, the mobile device then sends the audio to the VCM 110. The audio is transmitted to the VCM 110 as illustrated by the dotted arrow 550. In other cases, the VCM 110 may act as a processor such that the communication may be sent digitally from the mobile device 200 and the VCM 110 may convert the communication to audio in order to play the communication to the user of the system 100 for voice control. Following the playing of the communication, the VCM 110 may ask the user if there is a response, which would then be handled in a similar way to a new message but the recipient would be known and not needed as an associated argument to the command.

    [0039] At 560, once the VCM 110 receives the communication, the VCM 110 will alert the user of the communication. At 570, the user may select to receive the communication, in which case the VCM 110 plays the communication and may further relay details regarding the communication. In some cases, the user may choose to ignore or cancel the alert, in which case the VCM 110 will not play the communication or other details

    [0040] At 580, after playing the communication, the VCM 110 may request a response from the user. For example, if the communication was an email or instant message, the VCM 110 may ask the user if there is a response, such as a reply email or message. The request for a response may vary depending on the type of communication received. In general, a response would then be handled in a similar way to a new message but the recipient would be known and not needed as an argument.

    [0041] Figure 5 illustrates an example use-case diagram of sending an instant message using the system 100 for voice control. At 600, the user begins by turning on the system 100 for voice control, including the VCM 110 and mobile device 200. At 610, the VCM 110 pairs with the mobile device 200. At 620, the mobile device 200 accepts the pairing and enters an intermediate mode. When in this intermediate mode, the mobile device activates a monitoring module 230 that listens for messages from the VCM 110. During the intermediate mode, the mobile device 200 may further disable one or more predetermined functions, for example, the mobile device may disable one or more connections to networks, such as Wi-Fi, or may cease listening for voice commands.

    [0042] At 630, once paired, the VCM 110 may alert the user that the pairing is complete and that the VCM 110 is active. In some cases, this alert may include turning on an LED or playing an audible noise. Once the VCM 110 is active, it continues listening for verbal input. In some cases, the VCM may further ask the user to give a command.

    [0043] The VCM 110 monitors for verbal input. At 640, the user issues verbal input that is parsed to determine a command phrase. On receipt of the command phrase, the VCM 110 reviews the command phrase to determine a verbal command. The VCM 110 determines if a verbal command selected from a set of predetermined commands is received, for example, a command related to a communication application. In this example, the user issues verbal input such as "send instant message". This represents a verbal command. The VCM 110 also parses the command phrase to determine any arguments associated with the command. At 650, as no recipient was specified by the user, the VCM 110 may request the user to name a recipient or may read to the user a hotlist of contacts that may be stored in the memory module 170. The hotlist may be updated by the user or may be synchronized with contacts in the user's address book on the mobile device or the like. The hotlist may change depending on the application or communication method used by the user. In some cases, the user may have contacts on an e-mail hotlist that do not appear on the user's hotlist for instant messaging and/or the user's hotlist for phone calls. In the case of an instant messaging application, for example, the hotlist may contain recipients the user has previously contacted, recipients that currently have open conversations with the user when the mobile device paired with the VCM 110, or previously determined recipients the user has selected. In some cases, the hotlist may contain group contacts where a user can select a group contact instead of selecting several individuals separately.

    [0044] At 660, the user selects a recipient. At 670, the VCM 110 instructs the mobile device 200 to open the instant message application. At 680, the mobile device activates the application, the mobile device 200 signals the VCM 110 to indicate the mobile device's readiness to accept the next data stream, for example, an audio clip.

    [0045] At 690, the VCM 110 may then ask the user for a message. At 700, the user states the message. At 710, the VCM records the message and may play back the message to the user and confirm the sending of the message to the specified recipient. At 720, the user confirms the message. At 730, the VCM 110 then sends the message to the mobile device 200. The message may be an audio clip or may be converted to text by either the VCM 110 or the mobile device 200. At 740, the mobile device 200 receives the message and sends the message to the appropriate recipient.

    [0046] Figure 6 illustrates an example use-case diagram of receiving an instant message via the system 100 for voice control. At 800, the mobile device 200 receives an instant message. The mobile device 200 converts the received message to audio if necessary and sends the audio to the VCM 110. In some cases, the mobile device 200 may send the message to the VCM 110 and the VCM 110 may convert the message into audio to play to the user.

    [0047] At 810, the VCM 110 will inform the user that an instant message has been received and ask if the user would like to hear the message. At 820, the user consents. At 830, the VCM 110 plays the audio to the user. If the user does not consent the VCM 110 will not play the message and will resume monitoring for verbal input from the user or further input from the mobile device 200.

    [0048] If the VCM 110 plays the audio, the VCM 110 may then ask if the user wishes to respond to the instant message. If the user does not wish to respond, the VCM 110 returns to a monitoring state. At 840, the user indicates that he wishes to respond. At 850, the VCM 110 sends a request to the mobile device 200 to open the instant messaging application. At 860, the mobile device 200 will open the corresponding application and signal to the VCM 110 that the mobile device 200 is ready to receive the next instructions.

    [0049] At 870, the VCM 110 may ask the user for the message. At 880, the user commences the message. In some cases, the user may commence the message without prompting from the VCM. At 890, the VCM 110 records the message and may play back the message to the user and confirm the sending of the instant message. The VCM 110 may further transcribe the voice message to a text message, if the user prefers to send a text message and not an audio clip. At 900, the user confirms the message. At 910, the VCM 110 sends the message to the mobile device 200. At 920, the mobile device 200 receives the message and sends the instant message to the appropriate recipient. In some cases, the mobile device 200 may transcribe the audio message to text to send the message as a text message in the instant messaging application.

    [0050] Although the above examples detail the use of the system 100 for voice control with respect to instant messaging, it will be understood that the system 100 for voice control may be used with other communication applications, such as e-mail, SMS, MMS, telephone, or the like.

    [0051] In a further example, the system 100 for voice control may be used for speed dialing contacts. The numbers for individual contacts may be included in a hotlist of contacts stored in the memory module 170 of the VCM 110. If a user wishes to phone a contact the user can specify a contact on the hotlist and the VCM 110 can proceed to send instructions to the mobile device with the information associated with the contact in the hotlist. If multiple contacts contain the same name, the VCM 110 may determine which contact is the most contacted and ask the user if this contact is the correct person. If not the VCM 110 may continue through the list with the same name to determine the correct person or the user may specify further detail in order to narrow the matching contacts. Once the contact is determined, the associated contact entry on the hotlist may contain multiple phone numbers, the VCM 110 may determine which number is the most contacted and ask the user if this phone number is the correct number to call. If this is the incorrect number the VCM 110 may continue through the list of associated phone numbers to determine the correct phone number. In some cases, the VCM 110 may prompt the user to select the correct number from the multiple phone numbers. For example, the user may request to phone a home number or a business number for a specific contact.

    [0052] Further, the systems and methods herein may also be adapted for other applications, for example, the mobile device may include a map application or the mobile device may be a GPS device and the VCM 110 may include the ability to provide the user with, for example, road conditions, traffic conditions, alternate routes either when the VCM 110 is alerted to specific conditions or on request by the user.

    [0053] In the preceding description, for purposes of explanation, numerous details are set forth in order to provide a thorough understanding of the embodiments. However, it will be apparent to one skilled in the art that these specific details are not required. In other instances, well-known structures and elements may be shown in block diagram form in order not to obscure the understanding. For example, specific details are not provided as to whether the embodiments described herein are implemented as a software routine, hardware circuit, firmware, or a combination thereof.

    [0054] Embodiments of the disclosure can be represented as a computer program product stored in a machine-readable medium (also referred to as a computer-readable medium, a processor-readable medium, or a computer usable medium having a computer-readable program code embodied therein). The machine-readable medium can be any suitable tangible, non-transitory medium, including magnetic, optical, or electrical storage medium including a diskette, compact disk read only memory (CD-ROM), memory device

    [0055] (volatile or non-volatile), or similar storage mechanism. The machine-readable medium can contain various sets of instructions, code sequences, configuration information, or other data, which, when executed, cause a processor to perform steps in a method according to an embodiment of the disclosure. Those of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that other instructions and operations necessary to implement the described implementations can also be stored on the machine-readable medium. The instructions stored on the machine-readable medium can be executed by a processor or other suitable processing device, and can interface with circuitry to perform the described tasks.

    [0056] The above-described embodiments are intended to be examples only. Alterations, modifications and variations can be effected to the particular embodiments by those of skill in the art without departing from the scope, which is defined solely by the claims appended hereto.


    Claims

    1. A method for voice control of a mobile device (200), the method comprising:

    establishing (310) a connection (199) between the mobile device (200) and a voice-control module (110); and

    monitoring (330) at the voice-control module (110) for verbal input comprising a verbal command from among a set of predetermined verbal commands;

    the method further comprising:

    monitoring for verbal input comprising arguments associated with the verbal command;

    in response to receiving (340, 410) a verbal input, determining (440) if all required arguments have been received for a received verbal command;

    if any of the required arguments associated with the verbal command have not been received, issuing (450) a prompt for further verbal input;

    sending (360) instructions based on the received verbal command and the further verbal input from the voice-control module (110) to the mobile device (200); and

    acting (380) on the received instructions at the mobile device (200);

    wherein the method further comprises, responsive to establishing (310) the connection (199), disabling at least some predetermined functionality of the mobile device (200) to reduce power consumption while still allowing the mobile device (200) to process commands from the voice-control module (110).
     
    2. The method of claim 1, wherein the at least some predetermined functionality comprises ability to communicate with one or more predetermined networks, and/or
    wherein the at least some predetermined functionality comprises ability to monitor for verbal commands.
     
    3. The method of any one of claims 1 or 2, wherein the set of predetermined verbal commands comprises verbal commands corresponding to communication applications.
     
    4. The method of any one of claims 1 to 3, wherein monitoring at the voice-control module (110) for verbal input comprising arguments associated with the verbal command comprises identifying an argument based on a predetermined set of possible responses stored at the voice-control module (110).
     
    5. The method of any one of claims 1 to 4, wherein acting (380) on the received instructions at the mobile device (200) comprises activating an application related to the verbal command.
     
    6. The method of claim 5, wherein acting on the received instructions at the mobile device (200) further comprises performing an action via the application based on the verbal command.
     
    7. The method of any one of claims 1 to 6, wherein the verbal command is a command to initiate a communication and the associated argument is a recipient of the communication, the method further comprising:

    determining one or more potential recipients for the communication; and

    issuing the prompt based on the one or more potential recipients.


     
    8. A non-transitory computer readable medium comprising computer readable code that, when executed on a computer device, performs the method of any one of claims 1 to 7.
     
    9. A mobile device comprising:

    a connection module (210) configured for establishing (310) a connection (199) between the mobile device (200) and a voice-control module, 'VCM', (110);

    a monitoring module (230) configured for monitoring for instructions receivable from the VCM, said instructions being based on a verbal command and further verbal input receivable by the VCM, and the further verbal input being receivable by the VCM in response to a prompt issued based on a determination that any of all required arguments for a received verbal command have not been received; and

    a processing module (220) configured for executing the received instructions at the mobile device (200);

    wherein the mobile device (200) is configured to disable, responsive to establishing (310) the connection (199) between the mobile device (200) and the VCM (110), at least some predetermined functionality of the mobile device (200) to reduce power consumption while still allowing the mobile device (200) to process commands from the VCM (110).


     
    10. A system comprising:

    the mobile device (200) of claim 9 and

    a voice control module, 'VCM', for voice control of the mobile device (200) while allowing the mobile device (200) to reduce power consumption, the VCM comprising:

    a connection module (120) configured for establishing (310) a connection (199) between the VCM and the mobile device (200);

    a monitoring module (130) configured for monitoring for verbal input comprising a verbal command from among a set of predetermined verbal commands; and

    a communications module (180);

    wherein the monitoring module (130) is further configured to monitor for verbal input comprising arguments associated with the verbal command and, in response to receiving a verbal input that does not include an associated argument, issue a prompt, based on the associated argument, for further verbal input, if the associated argument is a required argument and has not been received; and

    wherein the communications module (180) is configured for sending instructions based on the received verbal command and the further verbal input to the mobile device (200).


     
    11. The system of claim 10, wherein the set of predetermined verbal commands comprises verbal commands corresponding to communication applications.
     
    12. The system of claim 10 or 11, further comprising a memory module (170), and wherein the monitoring module (130) is further configured to identify an argument based on a predetermined set of possible responses stored at the memory module (170).
     
    13. The system of any one of claims 10 to 12, wherein the verbal command is a command to initiate a communication and the associated argument is a recipient of the communication, the monitoring module (130) further configured to:

    determine one or more potential recipients for the communication; and

    issue the prompt based on the one or more potential recipients.


     


    Ansprüche

    1. Verfahren für die Sprachsteuerung einer mobilen Vorrichtung (200), das Verfahren umfassend:

    Einrichten (310) einer Verbindung (199) zwischen der mobilen Vorrichtung (200) und einem Sprachsteuerungsmodul (110); und

    Abhören (330), am Sprachsteuerungsmodul (110), auf verbale Eingabe, die einen verbalen Befehl aus einem Satz von vorgegebenen verbalen Befehlen umfasst;

    das Verfahren ferner umfassend:

    Abhören auf verbale Eingabe, die Argumente umfasst, welche mit dem verbalen Befehl assoziiert sind;

    in Reaktion auf das Empfangen (340, 410) einer verbalen Eingabe, Bestimmen (440), ob alle erforderlichen Argumente für einen empfangenen verbalen Befehl empfangen wurden;

    falls einige der erforderlichen Argumente, die mit dem verbalen Befehl assoziiert sind, nicht empfangen wurden, Ausgeben (450) einer Eingabeaufforderung für weitere verbale Eingabe;

    Senden (360) von Anweisungen basierend auf dem empfangenen verbalen Befehl und der weiteren verbalen Eingabe vom Sprachsteuerungsmodul (110) an die mobile Vorrichtung (200); und

    Agieren (380) auf die in der mobilen Vorrichtung (200) empfangenen Anweisungen hin;

    wobei das Verfahren ferner, in Reaktion auf das Einrichten (310) der Verbindung (199), das Deaktivieren von zumindest einigen vorgegebenen Funktionalitäten der mobilen Vorrichtung (200) umfasst, um Stromverbrauch zu reduzieren, während weiterhin ermöglicht ist, dass die mobile Vorrichtung (200) Befehle vom Sprachsteuerungsmodul (110) verarbeitet.


     
    2. Verfahren nach Anspruch 1, wobei die zumindest einige vorgegebenen Funktionalitäten die Fähigkeit zum Kommunizieren mit einem oder mehr vorgegebenen Netzwerken umfasst, und/oder
    wobei die zumindest einige vorgegebenen Funktionalitäten die Fähigkeit zum Abhören auf verbale Befehle umfassen.
     
    3. Verfahren nach einem der Ansprüche 1 oder 2, wobei der Satz von vorgegebenen verbalen Befehlen verbale Befehle umfasst, die Kommunikationsanwendungen entsprechen.
     
    4. Verfahren nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 3, wobei das Abhören, am Sprachsteuerungsmodul (110), auf verbale Eingabe, die Argumente umfasst, welche mit dem verbalen Befehl assoziiert sind, das Identifizieren eines Arguments basierend auf einem vorgegebenen Satz von möglichen Antworten umfasst, die im Sprachsteuerungsmodul (110) gespeichert sind.
     
    5. Verfahren nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 4, wobei das Agieren (380) auf die in der mobilen Vorrichtung (200) empfangenen Anweisungen hin das Aktivieren einer Anwendung umfasst, die dem verbalen Befehl zugehört.
     
    6. Verfahren nach Anspruch 5, wobei das Agieren auf die in der mobilen Vorrichtung (200) empfangenen Anweisungen hin ferner das Ausführen einer Aktion über die Anwendung basierend auf dem verbalen Befehl umfasst.
     
    7. Verfahren nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 6, wobei der verbale Befehl ein Befehl zum Einleiten einer Kommunikation ist und das assoziierte Argument ein Empfänger der Kommunikation ist, das Verfahren ferner umfassend:

    Bestimmen von einem oder mehr potentiellen Empfängern für die Kommunikation; und

    Ausgeben der Eingabeaufforderung basierend auf dem einen oder mehr potentiellen Empfängern.


     
    8. Nichtflüchtiges maschinenlesbares Medium, das maschinenlesbaren Code umfasst, der, wenn er auf einer Rechnervorrichtung ausgeführt wird, das Verfahren nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 7 ausführt.
     
    9. Mobile Vorrichtung, umfassend:

    ein Verbindungsmodul (210), das zum Einrichten (310) einer Verbindung (199) zwischen der mobilen Vorrichtung (200) und einem Sprachsteuerungsmodul, "VCM", (110) konfiguriert ist;

    ein Abhörmodul (230), das zum Abhören auf Anweisungen, die durch das VCM empfangbar sind, konfiguriert ist, wobei die Anweisungen auf einem verbalen Befehl und weiterer verbaler Eingabe basieren, die durch das VCM empfangbar sind, und wobei die weitere verbale Eingabe durch das VCM in Reaktion auf eine Eingabeaufforderung empfangbar ist, welche basierend auf einer Bestimmung ausgegeben wird, dass einige von allen erforderlichen Argumenten für einen verbalen Befehl nicht empfangen wurden; und

    ein Verarbeitungsmodul (220), das zum Ausführen der empfangenen Anweisungen in der mobilen Vorrichtung (200) konfiguriert ist;

    wobei die mobile Vorrichtung (200) zum Deaktivieren, in Reaktion auf das Einrichten (310) der Verbindung (199) zwischen der mobilen Vorrichtung (200) und dem VCM (110), von zumindest einigen vorgegebenen Funktionalitäten der mobilen Vorrichtung (200) konfiguriert ist, um Stromverbrauch zu reduzieren, während weiterhin ermöglicht ist, dass die mobile Vorrichtung (200) Befehle vom VCM (110) verarbeitet.


     
    10. System, umfassend:

    die mobile Vorrichtung (200) nach Anspruch 9; und

    ein Sprachsteuerungsmodul, "VCM", für die Sprachsteuerung der mobilen Vorrichtung (200), während ermöglicht ist, dass die mobile Vorrichtung (200) Stromverbrauch reduziert, das VCM umfassend:

    ein Verbindungsmodul (210), das zum Einrichten (310) einer Verbindung (199) zwischen dem VCM und der mobilen Vorrichtung (200) konfiguriert ist;

    ein Abhörmodul (130), das zum Abhören auf verbale Eingabe konfiguriert ist, die einen verbalen Befehl aus einem Satz von vorgegebenen verbalen Befehlen umfasst; und

    ein Kommunikationsmodul (180);

    wobei das Abhörmodul (130) ferner zum Abhören auf verbale Eingabe, die Argumente umfasst, welche mit dem verbalen Befehl assoziiert sind, und, in Reaktion auf das Empfangen einer verbalen Eingabe, die kein assoziiertes Argument enthält, zum Ausgeben einer Eingabeaufforderung, basierend auf dem assoziierten Argument, für weitere verbale Eingabe konfiguriert ist, wenn das assoziierte Argument ein erforderliches Argument ist und nicht empfangen wurde; und

    wobei das Kommunikationsmodul (180) zum Senden von Anweisungen basierend auf dem empfangenen verbalen Befehl und der weiteren verbalen Eingabe an die mobile Vorrichtung (200) konfiguriert ist.


     
    11. System nach Anspruch 10, wobei der Satz von vorgegebenen verbalen Befehlen verbale Befehle umfasst, die Kommunikationsanwendungen entsprechen.
     
    12. System nach Anspruch 10 oder 11, ferner umfassend ein Speichermodul (170), und wobei das Abhörmodul (130) ferner zum Identifizieren eines Arguments basierend auf einem vorgegebenen Satz von möglichen Antworten, die im Speichermodul (170) gespeichert sind, konfiguriert ist.
     
    13. System nach einem der Ansprüche 10 bis 12, wobei der verbale Befehl ein Befehl zum Einleiten einer Kommunikation ist und das assoziierte Argument ein Empfänger der Kommunikation ist, wobei das Abhörmodul (130) ferner zu folgendem konfiguriert ist:

    Bestimmen von einem oder mehr potentiellen Empfängern für die Kommunikation; und

    Ausgeben der Eingabeaufforderung basierend auf dem einen oder mehr potentiellen Empfängern.


     


    Revendications

    1. Procédé de commande vocale d'un dispositif mobile (200), le procédé comprenant de :

    établir (310) une connexion (199) entre le dispositif mobile (200) et un module de commande vocale (110) ; et surveiller (330), au niveau du module de commande vocale (110), une entrée verbale comprenant une commande verbale parmi un ensemble de commandes verbales prédéterminées ;

    le procédé comprenant en outre de :

    surveiller une entrée verbale comprenant des arguments associés à la commande verbale ;

    en réponse à la réception (340,410) d'une entrée verbale, déterminer (440) si tous les arguments nécessaires ont été reçus pour une commande verbale reçue ;

    si aucun des arguments requis associés à la commande verbale n'a été reçu, émettre (450) une invite pour une entrée verbale supplémentaire ;

    envoyer (360) des instructions basées sur la commande verbale reçue et l'entrée verbale supplémentaire du module de commande vocale (110) au dispositif mobile (200) ; et

    agir (380) sur les instructions reçues au niveau du dispositif mobile (200) ;

    dans lequel le procédé comprend en outre, en réponse à l'établissement (310) de la connexion (199), de désactiver au moins certaines fonctionnalités prédéterminées du dispositif mobile (200) afin de réduire la consommation électrique tout en permettant toujours au dispositif mobile (200) de traiter des commandes provenant du module de commande vocale (110).


     
    2. Procédé selon la revendication 1, dans lequel au moins une fonctionnalité prédéterminée comprend une capacité à communiquer avec un ou plusieurs réseaux prédéterminés, et/ou
    dans lequel au moins une fonctionnalité prédéterminée comprend une capacité à surveiller des commandes vocales.
     
    3. Procédé selon une quelconque des revendications 1 ou 2, dans lequel l'ensemble de commandes verbales prédéterminées comprend des commandes verbales correspondant à des applications de communication.
     
    4. Procédé selon une quelconque des revendications 1 à 3, dans lequel la surveillance au niveau du module de commande vocale (110) d'une entrée verbale comprend des arguments associés à la commande vocale comprenant d'identifier un argument sur la base d'un ensemble prédéterminé de réponses possibles mémorisées au niveau du module de commande vocale (110).
     
    5. Procédé selon une quelconque des revendications 1 à 4, dans lequel agir (380) sur les instructions reçues au niveau du dispositif mobile (200) comprend d'activer une application relative à la commande verbale.
     
    6. Procédé selon la revendication 5, dans lequel agir sur les instructions reçues au niveau du dispositif mobile (200) comprend en outre d'exécuter une action via l'application basée sur la commande verbale.
     
    7. Procédé selon une quelconque des revendication 1 à 6, dans lequel la commande verbale est une commande pour amorcer une communication et un argument associé est un destinataire de la communication, le procédé comprenant en outre de :

    déterminer un ou plusieurs destinataires potentiels pour la communication ; et

    émettre l'invite sur la base du ou des destinataires potentiels.


     
    8. Support lisible par ordinateur non transitoire comprenant du code lisible par ordinateur qui, lorsqu'il est exécuté sur un dispositif informatique, met en Ĺ“uvre le procédé d'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 7.
     
    9. Dispositif mobile comprenant :

    un module de connexion (210) configuré pour établir (310) une connexion (199) entre le dispositif mobile (200) et un module de commande vocale 'VCM' (110) ;

    un module de surveillance (230) configuré pour surveiller les instructions pouvant être reçues depuis le VCM, les instructions étant basées sur une commande verbale et une entrée verbale supplémentaire pouvant être reçue par le VCM, et l'entrée verbale supplémentaire pouvant être reçue par le VCM en réponse à une invite émise sur la base d'une détermination que aucun de tous les arguments requis pour une commande verbale reçue n'a été reçu, et

    un module de traitement (220) configuré pour exécuter les instructions reçues au niveau du dispositif mobile (200) ;

    dans lequel le dispositif mobile (200) est configuré pour désactiver, en réponse à l'établissement (310) de la connexion (199) entre le dispositif mobile (200) et le VCM (110), au moins certaines fonctionnalités prédéterminées du dispositif mobile (200) afin de réduire une consommation électrique tout en permettant toujours au dispositif mobile (200) de traiter des commandes provenant du VCM (110).


     
    10. Système comprenant :

    le dispositif mobile (200) selon la revendication 9 et

    un module de commande vocale, 'VCM', pour la commande vocale du dispositif mobile (200) tout en permettant au dispositif mobile (200) de réduire l'alimentation électrique, le VCM comprenant :

    un module de connexion(210) configuré pour établir (310) une connexion (199) entre le VCM et le dispositif mobile (200) ;

    un module de surveillance (130) configuré pour surveiller une entrée verbale comprenant une commande verbale parmi un ensemble de commandes verbales prédéterminées ; et

    un module de communication (180) ;

    dans lequel le module de surveillance (130) est en outre configuré pour surveiller une entrée verbale comprenant des arguments associés à la commande verbale et, en réponse à la réception d'une entrée verbale qui n'inclut pas un argument associé, émettre une invite, basée sur l'argument associé pour une entrée verbale supplémentaire, si l'argument associé est un argument requis et n'a pas été reçu ; et

    dans lequel le module de communication (180) est configuré pour envoyer des instructions sur la base de la commande verbale reçue et la commande verbale supplémentaire au dispositif mobile (200).


     
    11. Système selon la revendication 10, dans lequel l'ensemble de commandes verbales prédéterminées comprend des commandes verbales correspondant aux applications de communication.
     
    12. Système selon la revendication 10 ou 11, comprenant en outre un module de mémoire (170) et dans lequel le module de surveillance (130) est en outre configuré pour identifier un argument sur la base d'un ensemble prédéterminé de réponses possibles mémorisées au niveau du module de mémoire (170).
     
    13. Système selon une quelconque des revendications 10 à 12, dans lequel la commande verbale est une commande pour amorcer une communication et l'argument associé est un destinataire de la communication, le module de surveillance (130) étant en outre configuré pour :

    déterminer un ou plusieurs destinataires potentiels de la communication ; et

    émettre l'invite sur la base du ou des destinataires potentiels.


     




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    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



    This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

    Patent documents cited in the description