speeC-EZ - A Totally Hands-Free Way to Use Your Smartphone
Drive safely! speeC-EZ lets you use your voice to control your Bluetooth connected smartphone and communicate totally hands-free!
- Pair speeC-EZ to your smartphone and control all actions with only your voice. Keep hands on the wheel and eyes on the road ahead
- Send/receive texts, make/receive calls, send/receive emails, get navigation directions and play some tunes
- Operate all smartphone functions with the power of your voice!
- Amplifies and improves sound quality vs smartphone speakers
- speeC-EZ's microphone makes a much improved experience for your calling party vs. smartphone and many car systems
Use your voice to answer a call, get navigation directions and exchange text messages. Many people are addicted to their smartphones. Notifications that a new text or email just arrived drives some people nuts! They can't wait to read even when they know it's dangerous while driving to use their phone. iCreation wanted to solve this dilemma by allowing people to leave their smartphone in their glovebox or pocket and use simple voice commands to still use their phones, but in a safer way.
Earlier this year, AAA Foundation released an extensive study addressing distracted driving and the results are alarming. Some of the videos accompanying this study have been publicized on news related and morning programs. We all know how serious this issue has become since Apple first made smartphones indispensable starting in 2007. Our youngest drivers are most at risk due to their imagined indestructibility.
As a designer, developer and manufacturer of Bluetooth speakers and other Bluetooth communication devices for many years, iCreation has the experience to tackle this challenge. We first introduced hands-free voice control to Bluetooth speakers in 2014 by using only voice and no user interface buttons required. A voice trigger is used to replace a manual button and our trigger is "Hello iCreation". Trigger selection is important and shouldn't be a word used in normal conversation to prevent false triggers. Although this technology is not new, our application to a Bluetooth hands-free speakerphone IS new. We call our technology TotallyHandsFree™.
High on our design goal list was to achieve the lowest possible cost yet most reliable design solution. A major target is the youngest drivers and affordability is critical. Goal: Build speeC-EZ so it could retail at mobile carriers for the price of a protective case battery pack.
A second design version of speeC-EZ is needed to allow it to be mounted almost anywhere in a vehicle and it should be portable. Of course, that can only be accomplished with a rechargeable battery which adds to the product cost.
Microphones, speakers, Bluetooth and wireless connectivity are core technologies of our company. Response to voice commands by speeC-EZ is immediate as it does the talking and not your connected phone. The voice chips are internal and on the same PC board as the other electronic components that make speeC-EZ function nearly flawless to each command.
A noise cancellation microphone is listening whenever power is ON. Say "Hello iCreation" and instantly you'll hear "Say a command". Size is important in our design and we used a small speaker we designed into one of our outdoor rugged speakers with proven big sound quality in a compact package.
We quickly determined that including a rechargeable battery would put our retail objectives out of reach. Power, of course, is necessary and we decided to incorporate a 12 volt adaptor right into speeC-EZ since all vehicles have a 12V receptacle. This would give us the best chance of reaching our low-cost target price!
speeC-EZ+ uses a rechargeable lithium ion battery for untethered flexibility to allow people to put their speeC-EZ+ anywhere in the car. If a silicone "sticky pad" is used it would also allow mounting on the dashboard or even a window! Let's make everything else identical for both power source designs - that was our final design decision.
The audio output jack is not required but it's a nice feature. Only phone calls are unable to be processed through your car speaker system. The complexity of each audio system and access by voice would require a unique speeC-EZ design for each vehicle model - not achievable. The only reasonable solution is that all phone communication with speeC-EZ is heard from its built-in speaker. All other voice command responses, music, streaming audio and turn-by-turn directions can be heard through the car's audio system whenever the audio cable is connected to speeC-EZ. An incoming call automatically pauses music and announces the person calling.
Some people want to listen to the music stored on their phone or listen to streaming audio from the Internet while they drive. Just connect the cable supplied with speeC-EZ to your car system, home audio system or even your boat audio and Bluetooth stream the audio from your phone.
Your phone doesn't always connect to your car
While many newer vehicles are equipped with a Bluetooth interface for using the audio system to communicate with a phone or tablet, there are a number of situations that just will not work reliably. It could be the phone or it could be the car's Bluetooth or it might work fine and then for no reason stops working altogether. speeC-EZ will not have this problem. It is independent of the car's system and works with any Bluetooth connected device.
speeC-EZ is small and portable, it conveniently fits into a briefcase or pocketbook that travel with you. In a rental car it will just work. Many of us have experienced rental cars that just won't pair with your phone or it just takes too long and there isn't time to figure it out. That problem is over when using speeC-EZ!
Young drivers often get the hand-me-down without Bluetooth
A major target for speeC-EZ is younger drivers who seem to be most guilty of violating cell phone use while driving. Frequently they have the older family car that isn't equipped with a Bluetooth interface. We focused our attention on a solution for this very important consumer market segment.
- Audio Out: 3.5mm audio jack and tangle-free cable
- Range: 33 feet
- Bluetooth® v3.0 + A2DP + EDR (stereo & range enhancements)
- Lithium Ion rechargeable battery for Enhanced Version for 5+ hours when playing music full time @ full volume.
- Frequency response: 20HZ-20KHz
- Noise cancellation microphone
- Charger/Supply: 5V/500mA
- Pair Mode
- Am I Connected?
- Phone Command
- Check Battery
- Call Back
- What Can I Say?
Don’t be concerned if you speak English with an interesting accent – that’s what makes you…YOU! Fine tuning voice recognition is a challenge and one we know how to accept. With only eight commands they can be clearly differentiated and the waveforms can be tuned so recognition of the word or phrase is in the high 90’s percentile.
Siri and OK Google have to recognize literally thousands of words and as a result even perfect English has some difficulties, while accented English becomes troublesome at best. We’ve been testing voice commands for a long time and our “acid test” is with non-English speaking people who say the 8 commands and have them recognized over 90% of the time. A good noise cancellation microphone and a limited number of commands help us achieve excellent voice recognition results even for those who speak English as a second language.
Goals From Kickstarter Backers?
- CES 2016 in January will be our introduction stage for speeC-EZ. We want our backers' input on design features to make the best product possible before release to the market in January.
- For mounting the enhanced version of speeC-EZ there should be some optional accessories available. During our Kickstarter campaign, we will share some of our ideas and solicit input from our backers.
- Backers will receive the first production units starting in October. Our desire is to gather feedback from our backers and make any minor design tweaks before we release full production in preparation for the CES debut and market launch.
- Our objective to design and build a solution to use voice commands completely hands-free for safer driving remains our primary focus. There are many companies who have the public's attention and have far more experience to gain exposure for this cause. We are hoping to find a collaboration partner during our Kickstarter campaign.
Please help us get the word out about our Project with the Share this project button and we'll include a charging cable with lightning connector currently sold by iCreation for $14.95!
1) Send us a Screenshot or the Shared Link at: email@example.com and if your shared friend becomes a backer we'll send you a free charging cable.
2) Include your Kickstarter User Name in the message and make the subject: "I have shared" and we'll take care of the rest.
Risks and challenges
All new products have their own individual challenges. Design for manufacturing, new production tooling and setting up quality control procedures all play very important rolls in meeting a start up schedule. Are we ever late? Sure, no one who designs and produces new products is right 100% of the time!
Our company is in its 21st year and, although our brand name is new, we've designed, developed and produced very high quality products for many others and, quite frankly, we're really good at it. Voice command software was first developed applied to our speeCup Bluetooth speaker and a Google search will give you access to our history and reviews.
Our schedule is well set for shipment of rewards in October this year. We will certainly keep our backers informed of our progress by regular email updates and social media posts. Due to our level of experience with consumer electronic products, we see no reason to miss our target dates. Of course, anything can happen! We'll do our best and keep our audience informed.
- (30 days)