|Matthew Dublin is a senior writer at Genome Technology.|
After an apparently prolonged period of tinkering in the lab, the BioTeam and BT Compute unveiled an impressive voice-controlled experimental workflow implementation at the BioIT World Expo in Boston this week.
Using simple voice commands, Bas Burger, president of global commerce at BT Global Services, used Apple's Siri iPhone app to initiate an experiment on BT Compute's cloud computing service that utilized the molecular dynamics program NAMD running on Accelerys' analysis pipeline software.
Siri works — at least most of the time — by statistically analyzing a recording of the voice command provided by the user at Apple's servers with the result returned to the user's device, hopefully delivering the desired action or response.
But in order to create a seamless experience with no misunderstood
commands, this method reroutes the voice command to a proxy server hosted by BT Compute, where it screens for a list phrases related to the workflow analysis pipeline. If none of the key phrases are detected, the proxy server sends along the voice command to Apple's servers.
Here's a video of the demonstration: