Thursday, August 19, 2010

Talky Tablet

It's technically possible now for you to build yourself a tablet-style computer, with a touch screen interface, and the ability to receive your voice over microphone, transcribe it to text, and place it in any application. Therefore, in theory, you could do all your computer work with your voice.
The bad news? Well, a touch-screen computer tablet is available directly right now, in the form of an I-Pad, which is super expensive. The more reasonable priced one is a kit, one you have to build yourself. Doable if you're an IT expert like me. Less so if you're some other profession and just want to take it out of the box and get to work. Also, the kit only runs Linux, and while improvements have been made over the last ten years, Linux is not exactly famous for user friendliness.
There's bad news on the speech recognition end too. It still isn't entirely sure exactly what you said. It has a pretty good idea, but after every sentence, you have to go through a touch-based entry to point out what words were said. (It shows you the most likely ones. Sometimes what you said is none of the above, and you have to get out the virtual keyboard. Those are no fun.) Still, a very advanced system. It's called Parakeet. The creators have a video of it working on a Nokia-based phone.
In theory, I could write this blog with a notepad-like device and my voice from anywhere. In practice? Keyboard at the terminal is faster.

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