As it stands, this is a bit beyond the skills of the talking virtual assistant on Apple’s iPhone. But British Telecom is putting her through a kind of biomedical training. Last month, at a conference in Boston, BT’s Bas Burger used Siri to launch a mock experiment that analyzed data on the new cloud service the company build specifically for life sciences R&D.
Talking into his iPhone, Burger asked Siri to crunch some numbers on BT’s cloud using a common research tool called Pipeline Pilot, and after authenticating Burger, Siri complied. Moments later, Burger asked her for a status update, and she told him the experiment was complete, offering the results on his phone (see video below).
This Siri-in-lab-coat app was born during a hothouse session at BT in September that aimed to make it easier for scientists to run online experiments, and it was put together by developers at BioTeam, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based consulting firm that serves life sciences research. BioTeam co-founder and director of technology Chris Dagdigian says that the app is merely a proof-of-concept. “It proves that we weren’t completely insane when we were thinking about this idea in a room in the U.K.,” he says. But it’s indicative a larger movement across the life science field to harness the power of the cloud computing.