TORONTO, Ont. – Likened to Siri, the Ubiquitous Computer or Ubi — a virtual assistant for the home — plugs into a power outlet and responds to voice commands.
Born out of Toronto-based company Unified Computer Intelligence Corp., Ubi is a voice-activated Android device that uses Wi-Fi to receive voice commands and communicate through speech or lights.
The four-inch device can perform voice-activated web searches, function like an alarm clock or speakerphone and can complement web-based thermostats like Nest.
Mahyar Fotoohi, one of three engineers behind Ubi, said it provides an “easier, more accessible and more affordable” device.
Its distinguishing feature is its ability to provide a natural form of interaction, he said.
“Ideally, you would like to interact with a computer just like you are interacting with another human being, which is through the voice,” Fotoohi said.
The Canadian-designed and manufactured device features sensors that can monitor temperature, humidity, air pressure and ambient light in the home.
Data can be stored online or used to issue alerts to your smartphone or email, according to the website.
Its multifunctionality is flaunted by the company, which said Ubi can be used as an intercom system or a baby monitor.
The company said its device may prove useful to people with disabilities.
“We see a huge potential for Ubi to assist those who have visual, hearing, or mobility impairments,” the company wrote on its website.
Fotoohi said Ubi’s simplicity makes it easy to stay connected.
“Some people who were unable to use computers before, now they would be able to access computers and information,” he said.
The company used crowd-funding website Kickstarter to finance the project, raking in nearly $230,000.
Around 1,300 units have been sold.
Delivery is expected in the new year.