Researchers at the Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) are developing an artificial intelligence (AI) system called Gabriel, which can whisper instructions into the user's ear. The AI platform has been named after the biblical messenger of God.
The National Science Foundation provided the CMU researchers with a $2.8 million grant to further develop the personal cognitive assistance platform. Mahadev Satyanarayanan, the principal investigator of Gabriel and a computer science professor at CMU, explains that Gabriel uses a Google-Glass-reminiscent wearable vision system. Satyanarayanan says that about a decade ago, Gabriel would have been thought as science fiction; however, it is now a reality.
Satyanarayanan suggests that the experience of using Gabriel will be similar to using a GPS navigation system while driving.
"It gives you instructions when you need them, corrects you when you make a mistake and, most of the time, shuts up so it doesn't bug you," says Satyanarayanan.
Gabriel may be treated like a robot that senses and plans tasks. However, in reality, the action is not performed by the AI system but by a human.
Wearable cognitive assistants such as Gabriel is becoming possible in the last few years as advancements are made in some key areas of computation, software and hardware. Researchers say that fast advancement in computer vision is also making it promising for computer systems to recognize things and understand the context of situations.
The researchers behind Gabriel say that the cognitive assistant can help users with basic tasks like assembling furniture. However, the researchers want Gabriel to assist people who are in need of cognitive assistance, particularly patients suffering with neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer's. For example, when a patient forgets the name of a known person, then Gabriel can just whisper the name into their ear.
Gabriel can also be programmed that can help patients in performing everyday tasks, which may reduce their dependency on caregivers.
Gabriel needs a head-mounted device to whisper instructions into the ears of a user. Researchers are temporarily using Google Glass for testing the AI software, such as a ping pong assistant, in which Gabriel tells the user to hit the ball on the right or left depending on the actual position of the ball.
Check out this video where Gabriel provides assistance to the ping pong player.