In a world without our hands

Ever stop and think about how much we rely on our hands to manifest and transcribe our intricate thoughts to actual code? Much like the inner workings of a compiler taking language and spitting out machine code, and a musical composer in an symphony hall , there is a profound relationship.

One’s first path of assistance would venture down the realm of speech-to-text, but really how viable is this solution?

Nuance’s Dragon software line is the epitome of speech-to-text software. They have legal, medical and various other industry customized solutions, but what about a software line that was tailored to Microsoft’s Visual Studio?

Imagine a customized solution for such an IDE. It could leverage Intellisense to work through the various commands as you go and when you want to use a variable (something that is NOT a predefined word in the intellisense dictionary that Dragon could use to match all words against) you could give a command like ‘UDV – variable’sName’ either spelled out or trained.

Being able to bind to Intellisense for all possible voice commands would seem to make it a much easier task and then with break words that you would say first then followed by an IDE command like “Compile – No Debug”, etc…

I can’t see why this isn’t possible.

For the sake of comedy, look at this for programming with voice recognition that exists today:

In my opinion, speech-to-text as a solution for programmers who are physically disabled has a long way to go. With the delicate syntax of languages and the perfection of the software interpreter taking our voice and transcribing it as intended is an aspiration. Simply put, as the video above demonstrates – what should be simple, becomes a tedious ache.

Surely there must be folks out there considering the necessity to expand, improve and work to solution. If so, please reply, I’d be interested in the results.

As for the open source helping hand, one project I have stumbled upon is CMUSphinx: The Carnegie Mellon Sphinx Group Open Source Speech Recognition Engine.

This group of individuals are working together in an open environment in order to stimulate the creation of speech-using tools and applications, and to advance the state of the art both directly in speech recognition, as well as in related areas including dialog systems and speech synthesis.

It would be interesting to see the world of open source development work first hand on such a huge issue since we have yet to see any big-name speech-to-text companies provide a viable solution.

– Aaron

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