Voice assistants have taken over the home, making their way into as many devices as possible (they're even in light switches!). However, it's been a little more difficult to adapt them to wearables (like on the Martian mVoice)
Apple and Google have put Siri and Google Assistant on its Apple Watch and Wear OS, and they can be useful, but they haven't been useful enough. Digital Oasis wants to change that by making them easier to use with the VoiceMojo, available on Kickstarter now for $185.
Read this: The best Wear OS apps to download
The VoiceMojo is a wearable that houses both Google Assistant and Alexa, Stephen Lam, co-founder and CEO of Digital Oasis and creator of VoiceMojo tells us. If you want Siri, you'll have to route the one on your phone through the VoiceMojo wearable. Lam does point out that if you use Alexa or Google Assistant, it still needs to connect to your phone to access the internet.
From there, you'll be able to ask the assistants whatever you want with the press of a button. You'll also be able to control your smart home devices, though the VoiceMojo seems to be more aligned with taking assistants out on the go.
That's where the three other big features come in. VoiceMojo does multi-language translation, with Lam saying that it currently does 32 languages but that there are plans for over a 100.
The service VoiceMojo uses will be based on the country you're in. For example, if you're using it in the US you'll be using Google Translate. If you're in China, you'll be using a Chinese alternative. Google Translate is available in China, so this isn't because it's banned (like other Google services in the country). Lam instead says this is because the Chinese alternatives are more accurate.
Then there's talk-to-type, which Lam says will work with any computer, tablet or smartphone. You simply connect it via Bluetooth and talk away, and your device will automatically start typing out your words. You can also combine talk-to-type with translation. So if you're speaking in German it'll type everything out in English.
The VoiceMojo has a built-in omnidirectial microphone to pick up your speech, and it uses Digital Oasis' own speech workflow AI to identify what you're saying for talk-to-type. It also helps it better identify what language you're speaking, so that it can feed it into the translation service.
A question worthy of mighty praise, indeed. The big question here is why you would actually use a wearable voice assistant instead of relying on your smartphone. Google Assistant and Alexa are available on all smartphones after all, and Siri is available on iPhones.
The answer to that, according to Lam, is that VoiceMojo isn't just doing voice assistants. It's also packing in its own voice recognition AI plus features like dictation and translation. To do all of that, Lam argues, you would need a larger host of apps.
"You need to take out your phone, unlock the phone, open the apps, then use the apps," Lam says. "You need to do five or six steps." VoiceMojo wants to simplify all that use into a single button press.
Still, VoiceMojo's use seems to be best utilised by travelers who head to foreign countries. They could make use of translation, and can even diary their trip if they're into that. Using Alexa and Google Assistant seem to be added side bonuses in that case.
As for the whole crowdfunding thing, Lam says Digital Oasis doesn't actually need the money. It's using it as a marketing tool, and preparations are already underway to get the device manufactured and ready to ship. In fact, this is Digital Oasis' third crowdfunding campaign.
Overall, it seems like VoiceMojo has a niche use for travelers looking for some assistant help when they're out and about in a foreign country. Especially if you're not comfortable with pulling out your phone all the time to get the same features. It's definitely a luxury rather than a need, but if that niche use seems appealing for you, VoiceMojo is a good bet.