Universal Access to Mobile Computing Devices through Speech Input

Bill Manaris and Valanne MacGyvers, University of Southwestern Louisiana

This paper presents results on a user interface model for providing universal access to mobile computing devices. The model uses a continuous speech understanding engine to provide access to a virtual keyboard and mouse through speech input. This research has been targeted towards users with permanent motor disabilities. However, these results also apply to able-bodied users with temporary, task-induced motor disabilities, such as users performing alphanumeric data entry through a cellular phone keypad. The proposed solution might complement (or even replace) miniaturized keyboards and other physical keyboard alternatives, such as stylus-type soft keyboards. Since it only requires a microphone (and perhaps a speaker for feedback) which are already included in many mobile devices, it may allow such devices to shrink considerably in size, as alphanumeric input is no longer bound to a physical area. The paper describes the underlying architecture employed by the system. It presents empirical results addressing the effectiveness of this interface over alternative input methods for alphanumeric data entry. Finally, it discusses implications and future directions.

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