Intel has reportedly moved to acquire Indisys, a Spanish startup that specializes in natural language recognition, according to a TechCrunch report
. The company offers a variety of products based on its intelligent dialogue technology, including a Siri-like "virtual assistant" and a semantic search engine.
The intelligent assistant, known as Maya, uses a human avatar and is claimed to converse "fluently" in different languages and on different platforms, such as web or mobile. The company's other R&D projects include a multimodal interface for controlling and monitoring aircraft, and an online virtual assistant for the hearing impaired.
The acquisition is said to have been worth more than $26 million and follows Intel's move to purchase Omek, an Israeli company that specializes in gesture-based interfaces.
Intel early this year created a $100 million investment fund that focuses on creating and refining "human-like senses" on computing devices. Areas of interest are said to include gesture, voice and emotion sensing, along with biometrics and imaging.
"Devices with human-like senses - the ability to see, hear and feel much like people do - has long been a subject of science fiction but is now within reach given recent innovations in compute power and camera technology," said Intel Capital president Arvind Sodhani when the fund was announced.