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Speech recognition technologies compared and challenged
Do any of them really work ?
A review of the development of speech recognition, followed by a challenge competition featuring the three big freebies available today: Google; Apple Siri and Microsoft Cortana. - which is the best…are any of them any good ? Chris and Club gurus organise the challenge.


1932 - investigated by Bell Labs
Developed as computing power developed
1990s Lernaut & Hauspie - Dragon naturally Speaking industry standard until company collapsed 2001 (accounting scandal). The L&H speech technology was bought by ScanSoft which became Nuance in 2005. Apple originally licensed software from Nuance to provide speech recognition capability to its digital assistant Siri.

Modern speech recognition uses the power of cloud computing: statistically based and "deep learning" 

Why Speech recognition is no longer a gimmick

There are a number of free speech recognition resources - also some powerful commercial ones.:

     Dictation - speech to text
     Control devices - computers, programs 
     Voice search 
     Translation - to text (includes generation of subtitles) and translation to spoken word
     Intelligent personal assistants

RE: Dictation:
On line tool which uses Chrome speech to text engine within the Chrome Browser.
Useful if you are working at a PC.
Offers alternatives
Can add simple punctuation
Copy and paste text into documents, or share
Even translate

Also, there is built in Speech recognition for dictation and controlling menus in Windows, and Mountain Lion"Dictation" in the iMac.
You can also dictate notes on mobile devices and there are various specialised apps.  

RE: Translation: 
Improved as speech recognition has improved.

Compadre: from Speechgear http://www.speechgear.info/

With Compadre:Interact® just talk and whatever you are saying is simultaneously voiced aloud in your choice of a second language

Compadre:Document® instantly translates Microsoft Office® files such as Word® documents and PowerPoint® presentations. There’s no need to cut-and-paste as with other document translation programs, just click a button and your complete document is translated, formatted and ready to use.

Expensive: designed for the military !
But there is a free translation widget available from Speechgear - powered by Bing (Microsoft) (Win 7 and earlier only)

Also for short texts: Google Translate, Bing Translate (Microsoft) and iTranslate
...we'll revisit this subject in another presentation !

Latest developments in speech recognition are in the realm of "Intelligent Personal Assistants"

Top ones are:
Google Now and Voice search (Android apps and Chrome Browser on all platforms)
Siri - Apple - for iPad, but can also be used on iMac (https://snapguide.com/guides/put-siris-voice-on-your-mac/)
Cortana: Developed for Windows 8 and 10, soon te be released for iOS and Android

Google commands: (Use Google Android App or Chrome Browser)
About Google Now:

Siri commands
About Siri

Cortana commands:
About Cortana:

The Challenge

Suggested commands for the "challenge" (syntax varies as appropriate)

Go to BBC.com
Send an e-mail to (contact name)
What is the pound sterling Euro exchange rate today ?
Where is the nearest restaurant ?
What does discombobulate mean ?
What time is it in Adelaide ?
What is the square root of 4127
How do you say "have a nice day?" in Spanish
Call (contact name)
Turn on bluetooth
Play (song title)
Take a picture
Note (to self) ...Take a note...
How do I fry an egg ?

Fun stuff: (Siri)
Who are you?
Will you marry me?

Fun stuff Google:
Tell me a joke
What is the meaning of life, the universe and everything?

Fun stuff Cortana
Sing me a song
Which is better, Cortana or Siri?