Just got an Invoca voice activated four in one universal remote for testing a few weeks ago. My oldest son (9) thought this was the coolest thing in the world. After getting the manual out and figuring the code for our TV we started to train the device for our voice commands. My son was getting frustrated because when he changing the pitch of his voice … the unit wouldn’t respond. Whenever you program or use it you have to say the command words you programmed in the same tone. I was having more luck by just keeping my voice the same all the time on the command words. The manual says you should try key words such as the station call letters instead of the numbers and suggested commands for standard functions. Certain words are not as distinct as others making them more difficult for the voice recognition software to recognize. I have used voice recognition software on computers and it takes a while to train these systems. With this remote however, you just say the words in your normal voice and that seems to work the best. I found that recognition improved if I held the unit 1 to 3 ft away from by mouth and made sure the room was reasonably quiet when I trained the remote.

The unit can be used in your hand or can be left in its stand as long as it is not too far from your mouth. The standard buttons are on the outside and a slide out tray has numbers and the programming buttons. The transmitting LED is on the top and will send while in horizontal or vertical position. The base also doubles as the recharging stand for the ni-cads batteries that are used for the unit … a good idea since it can stay on standby waiting for commands which would wear down normal batteries quickly. By default the stay awake time is four hours during which the remote is waiting for another one of your command words.

The unit has codes for your TV/vcr/cable box/DVD/satellite that should work with most I/R systems. If you want to control your home theatre receiver you would need the advanced unit which is an eight in one unit which also has a small LCD display. You can also set it up for macros to set up multiple buttons on one command, as well as train it for different personalities where you set up a keyword for each user so it will only look for a word from that user.

After a while my son was able to get it working for him, although sometimes he would have to repeat the word … especially when there is a lot of background noise. When it does recognize a command the LED on the unit changes colour to indicate that it is sending the I/R signal to the device. You can adjust the sensitivity of the microphone but that makes it more sensitive to background noises as well.

It’s amazing how they can get voice recognition into such a small package. For the ultimate couch potato … this is the greatest tool around. You don’t even have to lift your head from the pillow to surf the channels 🙂

MSRP = $89.99