Talking tech

Prof Oliver Lemon

OK Google… Hey Siri… Alexa - let's chat…

Voice interactive systems are all around us – at home, at work or even on your wrist.


At Heriot-Watt’s Interaction Lab, we’re developing technology that machines can understand to help them generate human language and join us in conversations.

Why are we doing this? Well, spoken conversation is the most efficient, natural, and enjoyable method of communication that we have. Allowing computers to speak with us naturally and easily will open up more devices and services to more people.

Our research is developing the technology that can make such human-level communication skills a reality - for future systems that will cooperate intelligently with us.

In fact, our AI system is currently leading the 2018 Amazon Alexa Challenge, an international contest to develop a socially intelligent conversational AI for the Amazon Echo platform.

Our Interaction Lab is one of the few places in the world that has pioneered the use of machine learning methods, meaning our research could help everyone – from people with disabilities to surgeons, drivers and cooks – to perform difficult tasks hands free, making even the most complicated things accessible and achievable in every-day life.