What could be more exciting than controlling your in-home lighting from your iPad? Yep, you guessed it, controlling you in-home lighting with your voice through the use of Siri. That is now a possibility thanks to developer Brandon Evans who has worked out a way to control the recently launched Hue smart lighting system from Philips. The system uses the SiriProxy hack which stands between your iOS device and Apple's servers; it then intercepts Siri voice instructions which enable additional commands to be added to Siri's repertoire without involving Apple’s servers.
The first thing that I wanted to do with the Hue bulbs is get them working with Siri. I had seen last year someone created SiriProxy (in Ruby, luckily for me), and that it should allow me to do this. I'm actually using the The-Three-Little-Pigs fork as it has active developers, although I'll continue to just call it SiriProxy. The other part of making this work was the Hue API. Philips has said that they want to release an SDK at some point, however quite a few people have sniffed the API already and gained almost full control of the system.
A big takeaway from this project is just how well Siri handles natural language processing. SiriProxy won't let you handle anything as magical as "Siri, could you make the kitchen a little more romantic?" unless you make that an explicit command. It's still possible to speak commands in conversational english, but it isn't flexible outside the regex that you create. It also tends to misrecognize words like hallway ("whole way").
Brandon was able to control many things such as turning certain lights on and off, increasing the brightness of specific bulbs and he is currently working on color changes of the LED bulbs too. It makes you wonder just what Apple could achieve with Siri if it can perfect its understanding of normal language. The idea of a future home where its entire lighting, heating etc is controlled by your voice may not be that far away after all. You can see what Siri is capable of in the video below.
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