Having been limited to appearances in sci-fi movies just a few years ago, today virtual assistants are everywhere — from smartphone tools like Siri, Google Now, and Cortana to stand-alone devices like the Amazon Echo.
Now a new Kickstarter project is throwing its hat into the ring with Lucy, a smart home assistant that essentially takes the form of a giant iPad for your wall.
Boasting a touchscreen LED HD display in either 17-, 24-, or 27-inch form factors, complete with camera and voice control, Lucy is hoping to raise 100,000 euros ($112,000) to bring its creator’s vision to life.
“The inspiration came from the idea of having a chalkboard in your house, so you can write down messages to other members of your family,” creator Oliver Winkler told Digital Trends. “After that it grew, and kind of merged with the idea of a picture hanging on the wall. We thought this could be a communication tool, a way to display and showcase photos, and a smart assistant. We tested a lot of screens and every time we did, we wound up making it bigger and bigger because it looked so good.”
Based around an Android operating system, Lucy offers a lot of the same functionality as the aforementioned smart assistants. For example, she can tell you the weather for the coming days, start up a music playlist, operate connected smart devices like lights or AC, or reserve a table at your favorite restaurant. So far, so familiar.
But Winkler believes the screen makes an enormous difference, since it opens up new communication channels. “Lucy can have an individual setting for everyone in your household,” he continued. “It uses facial recognition to recognize each person, which lets you either exchange messages with one another, or to turn all the smart devices in your home to your personally preferred setting. You could even configure it so that if you have a family member who lives elsewhere, and they also have a Lucy unit in their kitchen, you can connect them so that every time you’re both in the kitchen you can talk.”
If you want to get involved with Lucy, you can do so over on the team’s Kickstarter page, where an advance unit will set you back between 358 and 770 euros. The first production batch is scheduled to ship in December.