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Typing Injury FAQ (4/6): Keyboard Alternatives (2/2)

( Part1 - Part2 )
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Archive-name: typing-injury-faq/keyboards/part2
Version: $Revision: 7.26 $ $Date: 1995/10/17 07:41:35 $
URL: http://www.cs.princeton.edu/~dwallach/tifaq/keyboards.html

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
Answers To Frequently Asked Questions about Keyboard Alternatives (Part 2/2)

Copyright  1992-1995 Dan Wallach <dwallach@cs.princeton.edu>

Chording keyboards / speech recognizers / other products

GIF pictures of many of these keyboards can be found via anonymous FTP
ftp://ftp.csua.berkeley.edu/pub/typing-injury/gifs

There's another page which specifically covers voice recognition products which
you may want to visit:

     http://www.ucar.edu/scd_people/nad/voice.html [- NEW!]

If you're looking for more comprehensive information on voice recognizers, you
may want to track down the December 20, 1994 issue of PC Magazine. They have an
article, "Talk Show" (pages 203 - 219), which covers a number of voice systems,
both navigation-only and true dictation systems. Be careful when you buy a
voice recognizer. Some are only meant for navigation tasks ("File. Save.
Okay."), and are entirely inappropriate for full dictation. Dictation requires
a much larger vocabulary system. If you're planning on dictating something
besides spoken English (say, a C program), then you're going to be hacking lots
of macros, both in your dictation system and in your editor.

This FAQ only covers products aimed at end users. There are a number of
libraries aimed at programmers building voice-recognition into their products.
A nice list of them appears in the PC Magazine article.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

AccuKey
     AccuCorp, Inc.
     Phone
          703-961-2001
     Address
          P.O. Box 66
          Christiansburg, VA 24073 USA
     Price
          $495 + shipping. 60 day lease for $35.
     Shipping
          Now.
     Compatibility
          PC, Mac, IBM 3270, Sun Sparc, and TeleVideo 935 and 955.

     Doesn't use conventional push-keys. Soft rubber keys, which rock forward
     and backward (each key has three states), make chords for typing keys.
     Learning time is estimated to be 2-3 hours, for getting started, and maybe
     two weeks to get used to it.

     Currently, the thumbs don't do anything, although a thumb-trackball is in
     the works.

     The company claims it takes about a week of work to support a new
     computer. They will be happy to adapt their keyboard to your computer, if
     possible.

         (a picture of the chording patterns is also available)

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Aria Listener
     Prometheus Products Inc.
     Phone
          800-477-3473 or 503-692-9600
     FAX
          503-691-1101
     Address
          9524 SW Tualatin Sherwood Rd.
          Tualatin, OR 97062
     Price
          $169 (includes Aria 16se sound card, no headset)
     Compatibility
          PC running Windows 3.1 or later
     Shipping
          Now

     Supports navigation with a vocabulary of 125 words.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The Bat
     Infogrip, Inc.
     E-Mail
          infogrip@infogrip.com [- NEW!]
     Phone
          800-397-0921 or 805-652-0770
     FAX
          805-652-0880
     WWW
          http://www.infogrip.com/infogrip/ [- NEW!]
     Address
          1141 E. Main St.
          Ventura, CA 93001 USA
     Price
          $495 (dual set - each one is a complete keyboard by itself)
          $295 (single)
     Shipping
          Now.
     Compatibility
          Mac, PC. Historically, they also made a serial port version which
          could be hooked to just about anything, if you had the proper
          driver support. Hackers may want to inquire if this is still
          available.

     A chording system. One hand is sufficient to type everything. The second
     hand is for redundancy and increased speed.

     30 day money back guarantee, no questions asked.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Braille 'n Speak
     Blazie Engineering
     Phone
          301-879-4944
     Address
          3660 Mill Green Rd.
          Street, Md 21154 USA

     (information provided by Doug Martin <martin@nosc.mil>)

     The Braille N Speak uses any of several Braille codes for entering
     information: Grade I, Grade II, or computer Braille. Basically, letters
     a-j are combinations of dots 1, 2, 4, and 5. Letters k-t are the same
     combinations as a-j with dot 3 added. Letters u, v, x, y, and z are like
     a-e with dots 3 and 6 added. (w is unique because Louis Braille didn't
     have a w in the French alphabet.)
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
DataEgg
     InHand Development Group
     Address
          Gary Friedman
          10330 Sepulveda Blvd. Suite 140
          Mission Hills, CA 91345 USA
     Price
          $150
     Shipping
          ???
     Compatibility
          see below

     The DataEgg is a round, one-handed, chording computer with a two-line LCD
     display (similar to the Microwriter AgendA). It can also serve as an
     alternative computer keyboard through a computer's serial port (currently
     supporting the PC, although it wouldn't be too hard to support X or a Mac
     if they wrote the driver). InHand will be manufacturing the device, which
     was originally developed by Gary Friedman of JPL.

     More info is available in NASA Tech Briefs, December 1992, Newsweek's
     "Technology Supplement" of December 12, 1992, or EE Times, March 8, 1993.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
DragonDictate
     Dragon Systems, Inc.
     Phone
          800-TALK-TYP or 617-965-5200
     Fax
          617-527-0372
     WWW [- NEW!]
          http://www.dragonsys.com/
     E-Mail
          support@dragonsys.com
     FAQ
          http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/a2x-voice/
     Address
          320 Nevada Street
          Newton, MA 02160 USA
     Shipping
          Now.
     Prices
          DragonDictate Starter $395
               (5k word active vocab, 1K global macro, 500 app specific macros)
          DragonDictate Classic $695
               (30K word active vocab, 5K global macro, 2K app specific macros)
          DragonDictate Power $1695
               (60K word active vocab, 5K global macro, 2K app specific macros)

          Upgrade prices from older version are also available.

          Also, you can purchase any of these systems with an "ACPA" (Audio
          Capture and Playback Adapter) DSP board for an additional $300.
          DragonDictate will work fine with a standard "multimedia" sound card,
          such as a SoundBlaster 16 or ProAudio Studio 16.

          [NEW!] DragonDictate for Windows is now available. Hardware
          requirements below.

          Also seen on-line in Safe Computing's Internet Store for the same
          prices as above.

     Compatibility
             + 486/33 (or higher) for DragonDictate
             + 486/66 for DragonDictate for Windows
             + 20 MB RAM minimum
             + 15 MB disk space for softare
             + 3 MB disk space for each user
          (3rd party support for Mac)

          Free software support for X windows is also available - your PC with
          Dragon hardware talks to your workstation over a serial cable or
          network. The program is called a2x, and is available via anonymous
          ftp:

                          ftp://ftp.csua.berkeley.edu/pub/typing-injury/
          software/a2x.tar.Z

          ftp://ftp.x.org/contrib/a2x.tar.Z (most current)

          If you want to use your Dragon product with X windows, you may want
          to ask for Peter Cohen, an salesman at Dragon who knows more about
          this sort of thing.

     Dragon Systems sells a number of voice recognition products. Most (if not
     all) of them seem to run on PC's and compatibles (including PS/2's and
     other MicroChannel boxes). DragonDictate works with many off-the-shelf
     sound cards, or they sell you a hardware board. Their older software sits
     in front of a number of popular word processors and spreadsheets. Dragon
     has recently announced "DDWIN", which extends Dragon support to all
     Microsoft Windows applications.

     Each user `trains' the system to their voice, and there are provisions to
     correct the system when it makes mistakes, on the fly. Multiple people can
     use it, but you have to load a different personality file for each person.
     You still get the use of your normal keyboard, too. On the DragonDictate
     Classic, you need to pause 1/10th sec between words. Dragon claims typical
     input speeds of 30-40 words per minute.

     Dragon's technology is also part of the following products (about which I
     have little-to-no other info):
        o Microsoft Windows Sound System (Voice Pilot)
        o IBM VoiceType
        o Power Secretary (by Articulate Systems - for Macintosh)
        o EMStation (by Lanier Voice Products - "emergency medical
          workstation")
     Files to check out in the typing injury archive:
        o dragon-vocab-size
        o dragon-vs-kurzweil
        o dragon2.info

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Half-QWERTY
     The Matias Corporation
     Phone
          416-749-3124 (Canada)
     FAX
          416-740-4132
     E-mail
          ematias@dgp.toronto.edu
     Address
          178 Thistledown Boulevard
          Rexdale, Ontario, Canada
          M9V 1K1
     Demo for anonymous ftp
          ftp://explorer.dgp.toronto.edu/pub/
          Also, availble on floppy from the company
     WWW
          http://www.dgp.toronto.edu/people/ematias/brochure.html
     Price
          $395 + shipping ($5) (higher in Canada, quantity discounts available)
     Shipping
          Now.
     Compatibility
          Mac and PC (but, not Windows)

     Half-QWERTY is software that turns your standard keyboard into a
     one-handed keyboard. Touch-typists can learn it with little or no
     retraining.

     When you hold down the space bar, all the keys under your hand change to
     those that would normally fall under the same fingers of your other hand.
     The space bar is still used for typing spaces. It differentiates based on
     the duration you hold it down.

     When you're not holding down the space bar, you can use your keyboard as a
     normal two-handed keyboard (maybe you want to switch from one to
     two-handed typing depending on your task, i.e., whether you're using your
     mouse).
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
IBM VoiceType Dictation (formerly Personal Dictation System)
     IBM Corporation
     Phone
          Contact your IBM sales rep or call 800-TALK-2ME
     Shipping
          Now.
     Price (for VoiceType Dictation)
          $999 - Software, microphone, and ISA card
          $1099 - Software, microphone, and PCMCIA card
          A Microchannel card might also available (it used to be...)

     Naming confusion: IBM previously sold a product named VoiceType 2, which
     was based on Dragon Systems technology. They also sold the IBM Speech
     Server Series (ISSS) and Personal Dictation System (PDS), both of which
     were based on IBM technology; ISSS ran on an RS/6000 workstation, and PDS
     ran on PC's with OS/2.

     The current IBM VoiceType Family is all IBM technology. VoiceType
     Dictation is an enhanced variant of PDS, which also supports MS Windows.

     VoiceType Dictation supports a 32,000 word dictionary. It's
     speaker-dependent, so requires training (1-2 hours).

     VoiceType Dictation recognize US and UK English, French, German, Spanish
     and Italian (MS Windows support for all these languages will appear in
     1995).

     VoiceType Dictation can control any X or OS/2 application, and supports
     user-customizable profiles for macros. A developer's API is also
     available.

     Dictation rates of 70-100 words per minute are possible with 95-99 percent
     accuracy, including a model of the language to disambiguate words such as
     "to", "two", and "too".

     IBM also makes some voice products not really intended for the "handicap"
     market with continuous speech and speaker-independence but smaller
     vocubularies (the IBM Continuous Speech Series - ICSS). They also have a
     programmer's API. Call them for more details.

     [NEW!]NCC sells an add-on called Digital Dictate which uses IBM's speech
     recognition engine and apparently has better integration with MS Windows.
     For more information, contact:

          NCC Incorporated
          5808 E. Turquoise
          Scottsdale, AZ 85253
          Phone: 602-922-6236
          Fax: 602-596-9050

     Also, check out ncc-digital-dictate in the typing-injury archive.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
IN3 (in-cube) Voice Command
     Command Corp, Inc.
     E-Mail
          in3@gacc.atl.ga.us
     World Wide Web
          http://www.commandcorp.com/incube_welcome.html
     CompuServe
          75120,431
     Phone
          404-925-7950
     Fax
          404-925-7924
     Address
          3675 Crestwood Parkway
          P.O. Box 956099
          Duluth, GA 30136-9502 USA
     Compatibility
          Sun Sparc (SunOS or Solaris) and MS Windows 3.1.
     Price
          Sun
               $495, headset not included
          MS Windows
               $395 (Pro Version for Windows), headset, but no sound card,
               included (?)

     For Sun, IN3 provides a complete navigation solution, including voice
     macros. A developer API is also available. The native Sparc audio is used
     for input. You can find a copy on their web page.

     For MS Windows, IN3 provides a solution similar to the Sun. Most 8 and 16
     bit sound cards are supported. A developer API is also available. Windows
     3.1 and a 386 or better processor are required. Demos can be found on
     Compuserve, America On-Line, various comp.binaries.ms-windows archive site
     and BBS systems, and their web page.

     Command Corp suggests that IN CUBE be used in combination with an
     ergonomic keyboard, so you type free text at moderate speed and for
     reasonabe periods on the "QWERTY" keys and convert all editing, chording,
     and mouse operations to voice input.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
KeyBreak
     New Zealand Electronic Research
     Phone
          (+64) 03-365-5434
     FAX
          (+64) 03-365-5371
     E-Mail
          gwells@nzer.co.nz
     Price
          NZ$85 (approx. US$70, but who knows these days?)
     Shipping
          now?
     Compatibility
          PC now, Mac later

     KeyBreak is a hardware device which plugs between your keyboard and
     computer and forces you to take regular breaks by first beeping at you and
     then locking your keyboard if you don't pay attention.

     The device adjusts the break times to train you to eventually take regular
     breaks.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Kurzweil VOICE
     Kurzweil Applied Intelligence, Inc.
     Phone
          617-893-5151
     Fax
          617-893-6525
     Address
          411 Waverley Oaks Road
          Waltham MA 02154 USA
     Price
          $995.
     Shipping
          Now

     The Kurzweil system is a voice recognition system which interfaces with PC
     compatibles. You get a board which will support 50,000 words - 10K user
     defined and 40K from a 200K word dictionary. The system is reported to
     attempt speaker-independence through continuously adapting voice models.
     This requires about 12 mbytes of disk space to store its state, however.

     MS-DOS and Windows are supported. Requires 486DX/33 or better with at
     least 32 MBytes RAM.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Listen for Windows
     Verbex Voice Systems Inc.
     Phone
          800-275-8729 or 908-225-5225
     FAX
          908-225-7764
     Address
          1090 King Georges Post Rd.
          Bldg. 107
          Edison, NJ 08837
     Price
          $139 (sound card not included, headset included)
     Compatibility
          PC with Windows 3.1 or later. 486 or better required with
          SoundBlaster-compatible cards. 386SX or better required with Verbex
          DSP cards (not included).
     Shipping
          Now

     Listen for Windows is a speaker-independent navigation system which can be
     customized for specific Windows apps. Out of the box, it supports a number
     of common programs like Microsoft Office.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Microwriter AgendA
     Microwriter Services Ltd
     Phone
          (+44) 81 715 1023 (U.K.) (voice or FAX)
     Address
          Unit 1
          Seaforth Works
          Rear of 8-12 Seaforth Avenue
          New Malden
          Surrey KT3 6JP

     (Info from Carroll Morgan <Carroll.Morgan@prg.oxford.ac.uk>)

     The AgendA is a personal desktop assistant (PDA) style machine. You can
     carry it along with you. It has chording input. You can also hook it up to
     your PC, or even program it.

     It costs just under 200 pounds, with 128K memory.

     [Apparently Microwriter is in some form of bankruptcy right now. The
     DataEgg is somehow based on this. You may want to contact InHand for more
     information.]
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The Minimal Motion Computer Access System
     Equal Access Computer Technology
     Phone
          508-263-6437
     Fax
          508-263-6537
     Address
          Dr. Michael Weinreigh
          39 Oneida Rd.
          Acton, MA 01720 USA
     Price
          InfoGrip-compatible
               "a few hundred dollars" + a one-handed Bat
          For their own system
               $300 (DOS software) + "a few hundred dollars"
     Shipping
          these are custom-made, so an occupational therapist would make
          moulds/do whatever to make it for you. You can buy one now.
     Compatibility
          PC only, although the InfoGrip-compatible version might work with a
          Mac.

     In a one-handed version, there is exactly one button per finger. In a
     two-handed version, you get four buttons per finger, and the thumbs don't
     do anything. You can also get one-handed versions with three thumb buttons
     - compatible with the InfoGrip Bat. Basically, get it any way you want.

     They also have a software tutorial to help you learn the chording, which
     can also be used as a one-handed chording system for most DOS apps, using
     the standard keyboard.

     Works on a PC under DOS, not Windows. Planning on Macintosh and PC/Windows
     support. No work has been done on a Unix version, yet.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Octima
     Ergoplic Keyboards Ltd.
     Phone
          972-4-5322844 (Israel)
     Fax
          972-3-5322970
     Address
          P.O. Box 31
          Kiryat Ono 55100, Israel

     (info from Mandy Jaffe-Katz <RXHFUN@HAIFAUVM.BITNET>)

     A one-handed keyboard.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
OfficeTalk for WordPerfect
     Kolvox Communications Inc.
     Phone
          800-556-5869 or 416-221-2400
     FAX
          416-218-3100
     Address
          4100 Yonge St. #607
          North York, Ontario, Canada M2P 2B5
     Price
          $1395 (includes headset, but not sound card)
     Compatibility
          PC with WordPerfect 5.1 or later for DOS or Windows (sound card
          required)
     Shipping
          Now

     Recognizes 500 voice commands, specially for WordPerfect. Another product,
     LawTalk, adds a 30,000 word dictionary.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Power Secretary
     Articulate Systems
     Phone
          800-443-7077 or 617-935-5656
     Price
          $1995
     Compatibility
          Macintosh with at least 20 Mbytes RAM

     A product based on DragonDictate, but for the Macintosh. Power Secretary
     requires at least an 040, but works without any extra hardware, even on
     the newer 040 Powerbook's. Call for more info.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Rover for Windows
     Digital Soup Inc.
     Phone
          800-793-7356 or 802-254-7356
     FAX
          802-254-6812
     Address
          P.O. Box 1340
          Brattleboro, VT 05302
     Price
          $129 (sound card and headset not included)
     Compatibility
          PC running Windows 3.1 or later
     Shipping
          Now

     Includes a starter vocabulary of 50 words. Macros can generate up to 128
     keystrokes each.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Step On It! [- NEW!]
     Bilbo Innovations, Inc.
     WWW
          http://www.bilbo.com/tae/bilbo/bilbo.html
     E-Mail
          bilbo@bilbo.com
     Phone
          800-203-0092 or 408-736-6086
     FAX
          408-736-6083
     Address
          1290 Oakmead Parkway #118
          Sunnyvale, CA 94086
     Compatibility
          PC
     Availability
          Now
     Price
          $99 (free shipping in US and Canada)

     Step-On-It Keyboard Control Pedals add three foot switches which can be
     configured to generate any keystrokes from the keyboard including macros.
     It works entirely in hardware, so it should also be compatible with X
     terminals and other electronically compatible devices.
     --------------------------------------------------------------------------
Telaccount Speech Recognizer for Windows
     Telaccount Inc.
     Phone
          718-824-3493
     FAX
          718-723-0962
     Address
          257 Robinson Ave.
          Bronx, NY 10465
     Price
          $79 (sound card and headset not included)
     Compatibility
          PC running Windows 3.1 or later
     Shipping
          Now

     Supports navigation with a 400 word customizable vocabulary.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Twiddler
     Handykey
     Phone
          516-474-4405 or 800-638-2352
     Address
          141 Mt. Sinai Ave.
          Mt. Sinai, NY 11766 USA
     Price
          $199.
     Shipping
          Now.
     Compatibility
          PC, Mac in beta

     The Twiddler is both a keyboard and a mouse, and it fits in one hand. You
     type via finger chords. Shift, control, etc. are thumb buttons. When in
     "mouse" mode, tilting the Twiddler moves the mouse, and mouse buttons are
     on your fingers.

     The cabling leaves your normal keyboard available, also.

     Most applications work, and Windows works fine. DESQview has trouble.
     GEOWorks also has trouble - mouse works, keyboard doesn't. OS/2
     compatibility coming soon.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thanks

Thanks go to Chris Bekins <AS.CCB@forsythe.stanford.edu> for providing the
basis for this information.

Thanks to the numerous contributors:

   * Doug Martin <martin@nosc.mil>
   * Carroll Morgan <Carroll.Morgan@prg.oxford.ac.uk>
   * Mandy Jaffe-Katz <RXHFUN@HAIFAUVM.BITNET>
   * Wes Hunter <Wesley.Hunter@AtlantaGA.NCR.com>
   * Paul Schwartz <pschwrtz@cs.washington.edu>
   * H.J. Woltring <WOLTRING@NICI.KUN.NL>
   * Dan Sorenson <viking@iastate.edu>
   * Chris VanHaren <vanharen@MIT.EDU>
   * Ravi Pandya <ravi@xanadu.com>
   * Leonard H. Tower Jr. <tower@ai.mit.edu>
   * Dan Jacobson <Dan_Jacobson@ATT.COM>
   * Jim Cheetham <jim@oasis.icl.co.uk>
   * Cliff Lasser <cal@THINK.COM>
   * Richard Donkin <richardd@cix.compulink.co.uk>
   * Paul Rubin <phr@napa.Telebit.COM>
   * David Erb <erb@fullfeed.com>
   * Bob Scheifler <rws@x.org>
   * Chris Grant <Chris.Grant@um.cc.umich.edu>
   * Scott Mandell <sem1@postoffice.mail.cornell.edu>
   * John Darragh <darragh@cpsc.ucalgary.ca>
   * Russell Nelson <nelson@crynwr.com>
   * John Lamp <jw_lamp@postoffice.utas.edu.au>
   * Paul Roossin <roossin@watson.ibm.com>
   * Tom Knotts <knotts@hpl-opus.hpl.hp.com>
   * Donna Foley <dbeabak@cfrvm.cfr.usf.edu>
   * Bob Adams <rea@gacc.atl.ga.us>
   * Gary Karp <72212.3240@COMPUSERVE.COM>
   * Kelly Fairbanks <ADP2C@MSU.EDU>
   * Peter Bower <cyberdoc@CRL.COM>
   * Paul Benati <benatip@acadia.image.Kodak.COM>
   * Peter S. Cohen <70254.535@CompuServe.COM>
   * Steve Wartig <wartig@software.org>
   * Dave Millman <millman@netcom.com>
   * Mary Lindstrom <lindstro@BIOSTAT.WISC.EDU>
   * John Lees <lees@cps.msu.edu>
   * Carlos M. Puig <cpuig@rahul.net>
   * Mark Smellie <ADPSYA2.MSMELLIE@UIAMVS.WEEG.UIOWA.EDU>
   * Bob Weissman <b_weissm@kla.com>
   * Rocky Khan <rokahn@hplb.hpl.hp.com>

and everybody else who I've probably managed to forget.

A special thanks to Nelson Minar <nelson@www.santafe.edu> for emacs
html-helper-mode, which made this document possible.

The opinions in here are my own, unless otherwise mentioned, and do not
represent the opinions of any organization or vendor.
-- 
Dan Wallach                  Princeton University, Computer Science Department
dwallach@cs.princeton.edu    http://www.cs.princeton.edu/~dwallach/  PGP Ready

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