The Way We Were, Or How It Used To Be
I remember when speech recognition was cutting edge and "hot" technology for the PC. There were many products, two of the more memorable being IBM's "Simply Speaking Gold" and Naturally Speaking products. However, these software-driven technologies did not deliver what the user was ultimately hoping for: intelligible speech recognition from the spoken word into readable and decipherable text. No amount of "training" the software seemed to noticeably improve the translation capability of the technology, and a string of dictated words were often transformed into unintelligible and sometimes hilarious text. For example, if I were to say, "I went to check on the dog," the voice recognition software might translate this into Microsoft Word text as, "Sky the Czechoslovakian frog." Needless to say, the dictation technology did not perform well and was not very useful at all.
And Here We Are Today
Some years have passed since the introductory days of Simply Speaking Gold, Dragon Naturally, and other poorly performing voice recognition software. However, recently, there have been noticeable improvements. Increased processing speed, microphone clarity and noise reduction technologies have vastly improved the capability of voice recognition software. Faster processing speed allows for more lifelike, real-time processing of voice patterns, and microphone clarity and noise reduction enhance the recognition of syllables and words.
Analog Devices is a company that specializes in high-performance analog, mixed-signal and digital signal processing integrated circuits used in signal processing applications. What does this mean to us? Analog Devices' offering in the realm of speech recognition is SoundMax Cadenza. Among its many features, SoundMax Cadenza boasts reliable and robust speech support for voice-activated command and control, data mining and dictation, and voice-over-IP and PSTN telephony. SoundMax Cadenza is built into the motherboard, and boasts quality audio on a par with more expensive PCI slot sound cards (i.e., Sound Blaster Live). It has six-channel discrete audio built in as well, with three mini-out connections on the motherboard.
Flux Capacitors, Hyperdrives, And... Superbeams?
The Superbeam Array Microphone by Andrea is paired with the SoundMax Cadenza. The microphone is a stereo microphone that connects to the SoundMax interface on the back of the PC. The microphone is cast into a plastic mold that sits nicely on any edge, or on the top of your monitor or PC. The Andrea Superbeam is compatible with Andrea's noise cancellation technology, which makes an incredible difference.