Apple wants Siri to be a better “Interactive Reading Assistant” as evidenced by a newly granted patent (number US 11887497 B2).
About the patent
The patent relates to an interactive reading assistant, and, in particular, modifying text content based on reading and/or speech proficiency values. In the patent Apple notes that current voice detection systems are able to detect the presence of speech of a human user, and determine certain sounds (e.g., phonemes) and words within the detected speech. A variety of applications may be implemented based on the determined sounds and words. One of these applications is assisting a user (e.g., children or polyglots) in speaking (e.g., uttering) a particular language.
However, Apple notes that, in certain situations, current voice detection systems aren’t equipped to effectively assist a user in reading. Current voice detection systems are unable to assess whether certain vocalizations (e.g., utterances) made by a user match corresponding expected values. For example, a user with a physical condition or attribute, such as a speech impediment or an underdeveloped vocal tract, produces a type of vocalization that is reflective of the physical condition or attribute.
A current voice detection system may have difficulty recognizing the type of vocalization. This means it can’t provide helpful feedback in order to aid proper reading (e.g., pronunciation) of known text content. As another example, Apple says that content is sometimes too complex or not complex enough (e.g., dull or boring) to sufficiently engage a user to read.
A user without useful feedback or an unengaged user ultimately spends more time to complete a particular language lesson, resulting in greater resource utilization (e.g., greater processing and memory utilization, reduced battery life, greater wear-and-tear, etc.). Apple wants Siri to be able to provide reading assistance in response to an assessment of a particular type of user vocalization, and in a manner that engages and/or encourages the user to read.
Summary of the patent
Here’s Apple’s abstract of the patent: “A method includes, while displaying a first set of text content via a display device, determining an engagement value that characterizes a level of user engagement with respect to the first set of text content. The method includes, in accordance with a determination that the engagement value satisfies a threshold, replacing the first set of text content with a second set of text content via the display device.
“The first set of text content is different from the second set of text content. The method includes in accordance with a determination that the engagement value does not satisfy the threshold, maintaining display of the first set of text content via the display device.”