Technology has enabled many devices to speak to us and some let us speak to them. I have a few practical ideas for this technology. (More)

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break.

My son has an elaborate (to me) television system. After pressing one power button for the whole system, I simply say “Xbox watch TV” and up comes the TV. I can then say, “Xbox watch HGTV” or whatever channel I am interested in.

The five year old had trouble with this system at first. She has a soft voice and she thought it would be polite to chat a bit before stating her TV preferences. It went something like, “Hi Xbox, it’s J. How are you doing Box? I want to watch Paw Patrol please. Can you find it for me? Thanks Box.”

She got frustrated with the lack of response and decided maybe she’d been programmed out by her parents. She’s a quick learner though. Now she skips the chatter and stands up to deliver her commands in a loud voice. She was told to use her ‘outside voice’ and she has one. Interestingly, she speaks louder when she is standing. (Maybe the presidential debates would be better seated?)

Beyond TV and Siri on my iPhone, I have a few more ideas for the talking technology. Any clever entrepreneur is free to take these and run with them.

The first idea is for public bathrooms and those in homes. I’d like it if when the door opened, to the stall or the bathroom, a voice said, “Did you wash your hands?” My daughter-in-law would like the home version to say, “Did you flush and wash your hands?” She must say that half a dozen times a day.

The second idea is for dishwashers. I’d like the dishwasher to say, “Thanks. Good job!” when someone either puts their dishes in or unloads it. Maybe the voice would have to change periodically to maintain its impact but I think it might help people build better habits. Maybe there needs to be an opt out feature for single households and those without kids but maybe not. Someone with a sense of humor might record “Heck of a job Brownie,” in a Bush like voice. Or not.

I have been given greeting cards and photo frames with personalized voices. Obviously this can’t be too difficult a technical challenge. I do hope someone picks these ideas up and delivers them to market. I know one household that would buy both.