HoloLens and Unity tip #006 – Speech commands for HoloLens with and without internet connection

It is important to understand that not all speech commands on a HoloLens will work without an internet connection. This blog post will go deeper into what needs an internet connection or not.

HoloLens has next to gestures also the possibility to use speech to interact with the device, programs and particular you own app. It is very important to understand what is possible. In principle the device allows you to do the following:

  • Basic commands – These allows you to get around faster on the device and is used for example to replace the gaze and tap gestures. It also allows you to control the location and size of a hologram. One in particular is really cool and is called “Face me” to let the hologram face you directly. Some examples are:
    • “What can I say?”
    • “Go home” or “Go to Start” – instead of bloom to get to Start Menu
    • “Launch “
    • “Move here”
    • “Take a picture”
    • “Start recording”
    • “Stop recording”
    • “Increase the brightness”
    • “Decrease the brightness”
    • “Increase the volume”
    • “Decrease the volume”
    • “Mute” or “Unmute”
    • “Shut down the device”
    • “Restart the device”
    • “Go to sleep”
    • “What time is it?”
    • “How much battery do I have left?”
    • “Call ” (requires Skype for HoloLens)
  • Button commands – When you hover over buttons, you will notice that it shows you a speech command. This allows you to control that button with speech. It also allows you to start an app on the device
  • Dictation – This allows you to dictate  and translate it to text. Dictation uses explicit punctuation’s and expect from you that you say the name of that punctuation. Think off “Period”, “Comma”, “New line”, “Open Quote” and many others.
  • App – You can build in your own commands into your app. Coding this is simple, flexible and allows you to almost anything. How to implement is explained here

Many of the commands like the basic commands and button commands can be used without an internet connection. That is resolved internally by the device. It is however very important to use the exact word(s) in the command, otherwise it does not recognize it

But as soon as you start using dictation of specific custom commands in your app you will need an internet connection. The HoloLens uses a Cloud speech recognition service to help to translate the voice command to text.

More information about voice commands can be found here and here

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