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Developer coaxes Siri to raise, lower his temperature

A developer set up a special Siri proxy to run his thermostat and potentially do other tasks Apple won't let her touch.


The prospect of asking Apple's Siri to control items besides your iPhone is starting to look a whole lot more real.

A developer known only as Pete, or @plamoni on Twitter, has created a special proxy server through which he can issue voice commands to the iPhone 4S voice assistant, who can then perform tasks outside of the iPhone. The first target: his thermostat.

Tapping into a hack set up last week by developer Applidium that lets people add more functionality to Siri, Pete managed to create a plugin to control a Wi-Fi thermostat by voice. In the video demo seen below, he was able to not only ask Siri to report the room temperature but also to change it.

The steps required to convince Siri to change the temp and perform other actions demand a fair knowledge of security certificates and OpenSSL, according to Pete. So it's not likely something the average person could do. But he held out the possibility of creating some automated scripts to help people try to duplicate his achievement.

Applidium's initial hack potentially opens the door for Siri to work on devices other than the iPhone 4S, but Pete's bit of proxy trickery doesn't by itself achieve that goal. He did say that his process could help in that regard but cautioned people about the risks involved without making sure the proper authentication is in place.

Since Siri made its debut more than a month ago, developers and hackers have been striving to expand its use beyond the iPhone 4S. And the hacks developed by Applidium and others show that Siri is quite capable of moving beyond her original programming.

But some of this progress could be short-lived. Apple is not the type of company to sit idly by and let other people fiddle around with its products and technologies. As Pete said, "Apple could do things to block this kind of behavior if they want." So it'll be interesting to see if and how Apple attempts to turn off these sorts of developments.