I was spending my time playing around with my boy on last weekend. As I mentioned in previous post, he is still quite young (2.5 years old), but he is showing a lot of interest in computing.
During the session, I got an idea about introducing him to one of Windows Vista's feature which is speech recognition. So I started by telling him that I could actually talk to the computer and have it do things for me. I started giving some voice commands to open some applications, navigating through them and doing some dictation. Being at the age that he is, he started parroting me. I said, "Open calculator". He also did. I said, "Stop Listening". He followed in the same suit. But, of course, Vista was only trained to recognize my voice (since I previously trained and tuned it to me). But that was fun.
Then I got an idea about trying speech recognition with one of his favorite game on Vista, which was Purble Place and to my surprise, I can play the game through speech recognition, which I think is pretty cool :). For example, in the cake factory part of the game, I can utter commands like, "Vanilla", or "Chocolate", etc. and the game actually responded to my voice. There is of course the uber "Show Number" or "Show Mousegrid" commands when everything else failed, but still, the Vista team actually put some voice command capability into the kiddy game. I am impressed.
We tried to do the same with the new Microsoft Tinker as well, but I couldn't get it to work properly in that game.
While we are on the subject of Tinker. This is one cool game :) My kid is really into this game at the moment or more like the Tinker Level Editor part instead of the actual game. For those who doesn't know it, Tinker is a Sokoban puzzle like game where your objective is to get Tinker the Robot to a swirling floor tile. But you have to navigate the maze / puzzle by pushing objects, throwing switches, collecting batteries, parts, bouncing laser beam on mirror / switches, melting ice blocks, using magnet and switch to move metal block, teleporter tiles, bombs, etc.
While the game itself is cool, the editor allows you to create your own puzzle level. I've been showing my kid some weird level design that is actually quite fun. We created an elevator and escalator simulation level. You go down one end, and then go up by the teleporter tile again. A level where you bounce laser beam all over the place and fried Tinker in the end, hehehe.
If you own Vista Ultimate, do Windows Update and download it. It's worth it.