Speech Recognition

FUJITSU’s software LiveTalk, a participatory communications tool for people with hearing disabilities, is now on sale to companies and schools in Japan.

Live Talk helps people with hearing disabilities participate and share information in meetings with multiple people. The software recognizes speech and converts in to text, which is then displayed on multiple PC screens.

LiveTalk boasts the following features:

  • Converts speech into text with speech-recognition technology and real-time display of speech with wireless LAN transmissions
    • Enables text-based communication, as speech is converted into text and displayed on PC screens in real time with speech recognition using handheld and headset mics.
    • If multiple people speak at once the text conversion is processed in parallel and displayed simultaneously.
    • Mistakes corrected on the PC.
    • Text is transmitted in real time to PCs and tablets connected to a wireless LAN router.
  • Provides for a variety of modes of expression, such as the transmission of stamps or fixed expressions in real time
    • In addition to keyboard input, through the input of easily understandable emoticon stamps and preregistered, frequently used, fixed phrases anyone can comment quickly.

AssistiveWare recently announced the release of its latest Mac OS X application, Wrise. It will be formally introduced this week at the Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) conference in Orlando, Florida. Wrise is AssistiveWare’s newest addition to its portfolio of assistive technology solutions. The word processor for Mac makes reading and writing accessible for everyone.

Wrise is designed to support reading comprehension and facilitate text composition, which can also be beneficial to people who have dyslexia. Key features include:

  • Text to Speech
  • Word and sentence highlighting
  • Zoom and EasyReading mode
  • Speak as you Type
  • Word prediction and speech tags

Wrise can be used to read selected text out loud in any Mac application. Additionally, it can import several document types, which include:

  • PDF
  • Word (doc/docx)
  • Plain texts
  • RTF

Wrise works with Text to Speech voices in a variety of languages. However, the user interface is currently only available in English. The word processor is available at the Mac App Store. Currently it is offered at an introductory price of $29.99, which will go up to $59.99 on February 15th

Read more about Wrise and download the free trial.

Talkitt gives people with speech disabilities their voice back. The app for android and iPhone differs from other speech recognition software in that it recognizes patterns. It listens to the speech of a person with a speech impediment and translates what they are saying through the use of pattern recognition and a calibrated personalized dictionary. 

Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology created a Google Glass app that delivers real-time closed captioning through speech-to-text technology. Individuals with hearing impairments can wear the glasses while someone speaks into a smartphone. The speech is then converted to text by the Android transcription API and displayed in the glasses.

Google Glasses has its own microphone but the use of a separate phone picks up speech from someone not wearing the glasses and reduces back ground noise.  

Captioning is available for download at MyGlass. For more information and support go to the project website.

Read more about real-time closed captioning on Google Glass

The revamped Dragon NaturallySpeaking 13 boasts better speed and accuracy, Web application compatibility, and a cleaner interface. Nuance Communications says that Dragon 13 is faster than the previous version and 15 percent more accurate. This is due in part to new microphone and PC compatibilities like automatic detection of microphone availability.

"The most important thing for everyone has always been accuracy, and we've seen another major leap forward with accuracy in Dragon 13," says Peter Mahoney, chief marketing officer and general manager of Dragon products at Nuance.

"If you have a new laptop that's got microphones built into the display, you can get very good accuracy even without a headset," Mahoney says. "It enables a different kind of user product, especially with these newer laptops and tablets and convertibles. You can just touch the screen to turn on the microphone or use voice command and you start talking. That's a really compelling application."

The new Dragon 13 provides full text control, which allows users to navigate around text and manipulate text so it’s supported in text rich fields.

Grey Group Singapore (Grey) has developed two mobile apps with the goal of increasing the quality of life for people with hearing disabilities. Supported by the Singapore Association for the Deaf (SADeaf) the app for smart phones turns them into intelligent devices that help people who are Deaf or hard-of-hearing.

The app, Say it With Signs, translates audio messages into signs, which are displayed on the phone. This makes it easier and quicker for the user to interpret the message. They can then reply via text.

Logo Ola Mundo

Ola Mundo is a project established in early 2012 in Israel by parents of children with special needs aimed to meet a need that had been very challenging to them until then - effective communication with their children. The OlaMundo Messenger application allows children and adolescents who have verbal communication difficulties to communicate with their family members, friends and therapists using symbols and communication boards even when these people are not around them.

Ensure that your product works with assistive technology

Assistive technology (AT) is a term that describes the tools that people with disabilities use to access websites and applications. To ensure compatibility between the assistive technology and your product, Interactive Accessibility will confirm that assistive technology can work with the product and that the product is usable for people with disabilities. 

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy will host a free, live audio discussion as part its AT Works series about accessible technology in the workplace. Inspiring Innovation — Engaging Citizens in the Development of Accessible Workplace Technology, will be held on Wednesday, September 5, 2012 from 2 - 3 p.m. Eastern Time. 

You can participate in this event by conference-call and the event will be live audio-captioned. No registration is required. 

Visit Disability.gov for more information about how assistive and accessible technologies can advance the employment and independence of people with disabilities.


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