I understand your potential pain. There isn't a voice recognition my broad Scottish accent can't break and, after waiting over a year for Aussie voice control for Kinect, you would have every right to get stabby if said newly installed voice controls struggled to understand your local accent. According to Jeremy Hinton, Group Category Manager at Microsoft Australia, there's no need to worry -- he has full confidence in Kinect's ability to understand Australians.
"In terms of 'Ocker' Australian accents, we really have done a lot of local testing on this tech," says Jeremy, "a lot of homes, a lot of voices, a lot of people that were raised in different areas, young kids, old people, you name it. We've really tried to get a diverse range of people collecting their voice data. So when it does hit, regardless of how Ocker your accent is, it will work."
We asked Jeremy if there were any specific challenges unique to getting the Australian accent working with Kinect. We have been waiting a while...
"I think each language, or regional dialect, has its own unique identifiers," he claimed. "If I look at Australia in particular, we tend to turn two words into one word, we tend to chop off the start and end of words, we truncate everything. So that in itself is different to UK English or US English.
"Probably the most difficult thing though, was the collection of voice data for children -- being able to have kids control all the data means that you have to collect thousands of hours of kids talking. That's a challenge because you have to find the kids and you have to get parental involvement and approval."
So, we wonder, if a four year old asks its Xbox to 'chuck a u-ie' will Kinect respond?
"Assuming there's a prompt on the screen that allows the Xbox to chuck a uie, sure," laughs Jeremy. "But yeah, obviously there's Australian slang, but unless it relates to a specific thing you want the Xbox to do, I don't imagine you'll be using the phrase very often."