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Voice Recognition


SPEECH & VOICE RECOGNITION
Speech and vocie recognition refers to the ability of machines to respond to spoken commands. Speech and voice recognition enables “hands-free” control of various electronic devices—a particular boon to many disabled persons—and the automatic creation of “print-ready” dictation. Among the earliest applications for speech & voice recognition were automated telephone systems and medical dictation software (for transcription).
THE TECHNOLOGY
The technology of Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) and Transcription has progressed greatly over the past few years. Ever since research of this technology began in 1936, the largest barriers to the speed and accuracy of speech & voice recognition were computer speed and power (or the lack thereof). With the average CPU now above a Pentium III and RAM levels at 500 MB and up, accuracy levels have reached 95% and better with transcription speeds at over 160 words per minute.
As mentioned above, the study of automatic speech recognition and transcription began in the 1936 with AT&T's Bell Labs. At that time, most research was funded and performed by Universities and the U.S. Government (primarily by the Military and DARPA - Defense Advanced Research Project Agency). It was not until the early 1980's when the technology reached the commercial market.
Like most emerging technologies, there were several competing research "camps", each working independently to develop speech recognition. Please view the Speech Recognition Timeline to get a full view of its development.
The first company to launch a commercial product was Covox in 1982. Covox brought digital sound (via The Voice Master, Sound Master and The Speech Thing) to the Commodore 64, Atari 400/800, and finally to the IBM PC in the mid ‘80s. Along with (or bundled with) this introduction of sound to computers came an early form of speech recognition.
Another company that was founded in 1982 and whose eventual product has become the overwhelming leader in the speech recognition market was Dragon Systems. Nuance, Inc. now owns and manufactures this product, Dragon Naturally Speaking.

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