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Tomorrow Today

Putting a human face on the computer

face grimmacing
Developers are working on a program that can regognize a user's mood

RELATED VIDEO
Researchers are finding ways to make the interaction between humans and computers less like a struggle.
Windows Media 28K 80K

Demonstration of Max Media program, which allows users to stop action in the middle of a show to write down information.
Real 28K 80K
Windows Media 28K 80K

  

March 25, 1999
Web posted at: 11:14 a.m. EST (1614 GMT)

INDIAN WELLS, California (CNN) -- Researchers are finding ways to make the interaction between humans and computers less a struggle and more like teamwork.

Their creations could stem the tide of frustrated employees who have trashed keyboards, mice, or more expensive components.

For example, a computer in your car dashboard can help you remember to do errands.

Attendees of IDG Conferences DemoMobile '99, to be held next month in Coronado, California, will get a look at a variety of products, including the talking dashboard that tells you when you need gas or reminds you to stop at the store on the way home.

MGI Software's MaxMedia connects users with a live broadcast, and allows interaction. That's useful for viewers who've ever tried to copy a recipe or an address from a live TV show.

"You can actually just pause it, jot it down, then go ahead and continue," says MGI's Gaetan Jeannot.

Along with the stop-action function, MaxMedia allows zooming and panning of the camera views. It runs on Intel's new Pentium III processor.

Levine
Levine demonstrates voice activated translation software   

Lernout & Hauspie is developing translation software that works by voice. It works best, says L&H's Richard Levine, when you get to know the program before telling it what to do.

"The computer needs to know how you speak," he says. "I have a Boston accent. The computer needs to know not only how I pronounce words, but how I string words together."

But don't expect to have conversations with your computer in the immediate future.

"I think it will be awhile before we have casual conversations like this with our computers," says analyst Chris Shipley, "but I think we're getting there much faster than we might have thought."

One more interactive piece of magic -- developers at Carnegie-Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh are creating programs that would enable computers to detect its user's mood and respond appropriately. That kind of "intuitiveness" could avoid some pretty ugly scenes.

Correspondent Marsha Walton contributed to this report.


RELATED STORIES:
IBM's talking browser brings Net to visually impaired
February 4, 1999
Industrial devices 'talk' on the Net
March 18, 1999
Taking the personal computer for a ride
January 11, 1999
Speech-recognition makers promise 'assistants'
November 17, 1998
Is speech-recognition software for your PC really worth it?
September 5, 1998

RELATED SITES:
University of Pittsburgh/Carnegie Mellon face analysis
Lernout & Hauspie (L&H) - speech recognition, human and machine language translation solutions and services
MGI Software
Demo Connecting People, Products & Emerging Ideas
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