Mycroft Mark II Open Source Voice Assistant Speaker Launches

Posted: Feb 10 2018, 1:28am CST | by , in Technology News


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Mycroft Mark II Open Source Voice Assistant Speaker Launches

Privacy-focused Voice Assistant reaches funding goal in 6.5 hours.

If Jeff Bezos' Alexa is too creepy for you, here is an alternative. The Mycroft Mark II voice assistant speaker is on open source device and platform that has successfully launched on Kickstarter. The project reaches of $50,000 the initial funding goal in only 6.5 hours. The Kickstarter raised so far almost $250,000.

The Mark II smart speaker is powered by the Mycroft intelligent assistant, an open source full feature voice platform. The Mark II is a consumer-ready smart speaker with a built-in screen, optional camera, and state of the art microphone array with noise cancellation and beam-forming. These improvements to the Mark II improve wake word spotting and allow users to be heard over music or other sounds.

Mycroft’s open platform differs from products like Alexa or Siri in four important ways. Data privacy, customization, user agency and open data. Mycroft’s platform provides users with privacy by deleting queries as they come in. The agent can also be customized by changing the wake word, voice and even the user experience.

Mycroft is also the first assistant that embraces the concept of user agency – other voice assistants don’t represent users, they represent the companies that own them (entangling them into any feuds that may arise between competitive platforms). Mycroft is the neutral assistant, it represents end users. Finally, Mycroft is using data from users who have opted in to publish an open data set that can be used to improve wake word spotting, speech-to-text transcription, natural language understanding and speech synthesis.

The Mark II is also completely open. Open hardware, open software and open data. Any company interested in deploying voice-enabled products can use the design as a baseline. Mycroft has already demonstrated its technology in a Jaguar F-Type sports car and is working with a number of major brands to deploy custom voice solutions.

“The Mark II will be a game changer,” says Mycroft CEO Joshua Montgomery, “deploying an intelligent personal assistant will no longer be a hundred million dollar proposition. Anyone with an internet connection will be able to have a custom voice agent and, importantly, they won’t have to give up their privacy to do it.”

A complete Mycroft Mark II voice assistant speaker starts at $129 and is planned to ship end of the year, available for pre-order on Kickstarter. If you want a voice assistant speaker now, Amazon has a sale on all Amazon Echo devices.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/2" rel="author">Luigi Lugmayr</a>
Manfred "Luigi" Lugmayr () is the founding Chief Editor of I4U News and brings over 25 years experience in the technology field to the ever evolving and exciting world of gadgets, tech and online shopping. He started I4U News back in 2000 and evolved it into vibrant technology news and tech and toy shopping hub.
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