[unrev-II] Speech Input (was: Twiddler chord keyboard)

From: Paul Fernhout (pdfernhout@kurtz-fernhout.com)
Date: Wed Mar 29 2000 - 18:28:57 PST

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    From: Paul Fernhout <pdfernhout@kurtz-fernhout.com>

    Neil Scott wrote:
    > The Archimedes Total Access System interface allows you to use your Palm
    > Pilot to emulate the keyboard and mouse functions on a computer. It is
    > surprisingly convenient to use since the keyboard and mouse functions
    > are performed on the same device. It is very comfortable to use for
    > doing text editing and making corrections. It is infinitely better than
    > the twiddler.

    Sounds interesting. Do you have a URL for this?

    > IBM has demonstrated speech recognition on the Palm Pilot which means it
    > is possible to talk, point, and make corrections from a single hand-held
    > device.

    I spent 18 months as one of the developers on this particular IBM
    project. The Personal Speech Assistant is a neat device (IMHO). While I
    still can't comment in detail on the device, in general the speech
    recognition is not done on the Pilot itself -- rather it is done on an
    add-on device which wraps around the Palm. Inside that box is a faster
    processor. It does not support full dictation -- just command and
    control of several hundred commands. For more details see:
    The PSA is one of several initiatives IBM has in the pervasive computing
    [Note: I don't claim to speak for IBM -- these opinions are my own.]

    Other companies like Lernout & Hauspie and Microsoft have recently
    announced their own hand-held devices you can talk to as well (L&H's
    does dictation, I believe Microsoft just does command and control).
    Vendors like AT&T/Lucent have demonstrated devices that do speech
    recognition (again with the Palm) using wireless link to a centralized

    Based on industry trends, and the exponential growth in computing power
    / cost, you can expect to see some amazing handheld things in handheld
    speech products over the next decade. A dictation product like IBM's
    ViaVoice or Dragon Dictate takes around 200 MIPS to run well (obviously
    more is better). A modern low-power CPU like the StrongArm can do about
    200 MIPS (and a pair of AAAs can run this at full speed for somewhere
    around 1/2 an hour).
    http://research.compaq.com/wrl/itsy/talk-ee380/sld019.htm A new version
    of the StrongArm coming out in the next few months will do 600 MIPS on
    on 1/2 the power (or 200 MIPS on 1/6 the power). So you can do the math
    and see what will be available when as MIPS/Watt doubles every year or

    Still, it is a well known fact in the speech industry that getting that
    last few percent of accuracy under varying acoustic conditions and
    multiple speakers is a difficult problem. So, this is a still a very
    hot area of research.

    -Paul Fernhout
    Kurtz-Fernhout Software
    Developers of custom software and educational simulations
    Creators of the Garden with Insight(TM) garden simulator

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