On August 27th we launched a publicly accessible crowdfunding campaign for Mycroft. We did this for several reasons. Most importantly we did it to allow our community to participate in the success of Mycroft. Our community has helped us from the beginning and we wouldn’t be where we are without you. Go check out our campaign if you haven’t already. And take pride in the work we have done as a community to bring a private open source voice assistant to market.
In our What Have We Been Doing Lately blog post we shared about the work that takes place to keep Mycroft running, the day-to-day business operations and developments, as well as summarizing the Mark II redesign. In this post we will share about a few of the major software updates we’ve done, defending Mycroft against Patent Assertion Entities, and learning what works best for Mycroft.
The software that drives Mycroft is always being improved. It’s not possible for us to cover everything that has changed over the last few years, but we wanted to highlight a small selection of the largest additions to our technical stack.
- Mycroft-GUI Framework
- Selene backend
- Common Query and IoT Frameworks
- Lingua Franca
- Voight Kampff test suite
- Plugin system for STT, TTS, Wake Word and Audio backend services
- Skill API
- Infrastructure Service Monitoring (blog post coming soon)
- New wake word more sensitive to non American males (blog post coming soon)
Each of these systems were an exceptional undertaking and are critical to providing the integrated, intuitive experience that you would expect from a consumer grade voice assistant. We’ve talked about a few of these in the past, but will be expanding on their development in future blog posts.
On top of these are a huge range of new features, updates, bug fixes and documentation across all of our technologies – audio systems, intent parsing, internationalization, STT and TTS engines, wake word spotting, development tools, testing, deployment, monitoring – and everything in between.
Too much of our time has been spent on legal, when we would love to solely be focusing on a cool, much-needed, privacy-focused voice assistant. Be things as they are, legal now requires some attention.
Mycroft was approached by a Patent Assertion Entity in early 2020 claiming that we infringed on their mobile patent and a remote control for computer technology. If you’re reading this, you already know that Mycroft is on zero mobile devices, nor do we have anything to do with remote controls for computers…
They returned in 2021 claiming harassment which came to them in the form of spam mail. To explain the irksome battle between good and evil, our founder wrote a children’s book called Mycroft and the Patent Trolls.
No one wants to get a privacy-focused voice technology / smart speaker into the greater public more than us. The challenges that Mycroft has managed to overcome would (and does) put a vast majority of startups out of business. We’ve been lucky enough to be given a second chance to hire a contract manufacturer, develop the technology to be consumer grade ready, and live to fight another day. Furthermore, business operations that would normally not be public have been made extremely transparent. This opens us to criticism. However, we welcome feedback, learning together, and enabling anyone to invest their money into businesses they believe in via crowdfunding.
Kris is a serial entrepreneur and co-founder of Mycroft. She helped develop and executed on the social media strategy for the Kickstarter and continues managing social media in her role as Social Media Manager at Mycroft today.