Frustrated with my entertainment system’s complex, 4-remote-control setup, I embarked on a project code-named “Jane”. Consisting of an infrared blaster, an infrared repeater, a bluetooth proximity detection program, external speakers, audio and video switches, and the native speech recognition capabilities on my laptop, “Jane” was my apartment’s voice-activated personality. She knew when my phone (and hence when I) entered or exited the apartment, and could control every aspect of my home-entertainment system. As I walked in the door, she could turn on the TV for me, or I could simply say, “Jane, turn on the TV.” Further, Jane could speak feedback messages to me over my apartment’s surround sound and display herself on the television as a sound sensitive, glowing orb.

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