There’s an article on the front page of today’s Business Section in the StarTribune titled A new kind of speech features Northfield-based SpeechGear and their Auditory Sciences subsidiary. (The online headline “Northfield-based SpeechGear transcribes in real time for deaf” is misleading since their product is not only for the deaf.)
Back in January, I visited their offices and got a demonstration of their software from Sean Virnig, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Auditory Sciences and SpeechGear CEO Robert Palmquist.
[9:10:01 AM]: RDP (Robert D. Palmquist)
That’s from the movie Lord of the Rings
[9:10:29 AM]: RDP
In the old place I had one more that was supposed to be Star Trek time
[9:11:22 AM]: RDP
For the Star Trek clock I wanted it to be warp speed, so I removed the secondhand and replaced it with the minute hand so it looked like time was flying very fast
[9:11:53 AM]: RDP
This is what we’re doing with this product
[9:12:23 AM]: RDP
Whenever I say something Sean sees it on the screen
[9:12:37 AM]: RDP
And he can respond by writing
[9:13:07 AM]: RDP
or by typing
[9:13:51 AM]: RDP
Griff pointed out that you’re left-handed writer
[9:14:00 AM]: RDP
All this time I thought you were right-handed
[9:14:24 AM]: Sean
By choice. I am ambidextrous
[9:14:39 AM]: RDP
The writing pad is actually set up for a right-handed person
[9:14:49 AM]: RDP
I can show you how to set it up for a left-handed person
[9:15:13 AM]: RDP
So what do you think?
[9:15:51 AM]: Griff
Very cool I’m wondering how this is better than the speech translation app available on iPhone and Google phones
[9:16:24 AM]: RDP
I’m not sure which system you’re talking about
[9:16:54 AM]: Griff
The iPhone and the new Google phone translation app you speak into it and you see that text appear
[9:17:23 AM]: RDP
The iPhone has a dragon application that supports about 40,000 words words here were supporting about 500,000 words
[9:17:55 AM]: RDP
I haven’t seen the android app
[9:18:02 AM]: RDP
Does it work well?
[9:18:36 AM]: Griff
I don’t know yet I have an early Google phone that doesn’t have it on and I’m told that the new Google phone I’ve got a T-Mobile G1 and it does not work well but they supposedly the new actual Google access one phone that does work well I don’t know
[9:18:59 AM]: RDP
So what we’re doing here is anything that I say gets transcribed
[9:19:07 AM]: RDP
Plus if I added the translation module anything that I say would get voiced in to say Spanish
[9:19:17 AM]: RDP
In addition to the transcription we’re keeping a log of everything that said
[9:19:32 AM]: RDP
Plus we also have the ability to use pictures and video clips and that sort of thing to augment our communications
[9:20:12 AM]: RDP
Next week I’ll be in Vancouver
[9:20:20 AM]: RDP
I’m part of the Olympic team
[9:20:36 AM]: RDP
The point is a picture is worth 1000 words so we can use pictures to augment our communications
[9:20:56 AM]: RDP
If I were Sean by now my left arm would be getting tired
[9:21:06 AM]: RDP
Let’s go sit down
[9:22:41 AM]: Griff
Can you e-mail me the transcript?
[9:23:03 AM]: Griff
You as I would like to, in addition to putting the pictures on our blog I’d like to put the transcript up
[9:24:33 AM]: Griff
I think you keep, can you keep capturing what were doing and appended to the transcript we generate?
[9:24:46 AM]: RDP
Let me show you some fun things
[9:24:57 AM]: RDP
We don’t keep an actual precise translation of what is said
[9:25:09 AM]: RDP
For example if I say a phone number I don’t need to add the dashes to have it appear like you’d like it to appear
[9:25:26 AM]: RDP
My phone number is 507-664-9123
[9:25:38 AM]: RDP
So all I said is the number said in say 507 — 664 — 9123
[9:25:46 AM]: RDP
The same applies for a price or dates
[9:25:54 AM]: RDP
For example I can say the cost is $8.42
[9:26:07 AM]: RDP
So I didn’t say $ . 42
[9:26:43 AM]: RDP
I can also say today is February 3, 2010 and
[9:27:00 AM]: RDP
That’s kind of interesting and never really thought how to pronounce 2010
[9:27:15 AM]: Griff
Some people are saying 2010
[9:27:29 AM]: RDP
So is the 2010 or 2010
[9:27:47 AM]: RDP
That’s all part of what we’re doing is enabling communications for somebody who is deaf or hard of hearing with somebody who doesn’t understand sign language
[9:28:03 AM]: RDP
So with this system somebody who is for example deaf could also travel to a country like Italy and have a conversation
[9:28:16 AM]: RDP
Whatever the person says an Italian would be transcribed into English and then whatever you type or write in English would give voiced out an Italian
[9:28:34 AM]: Griff
Sean when are you going to Italy did practice this
[9:29:01 AM]: Sean
Sometime soon I hope!
[9:29:24 AM]: Sean
I’d like to go to Florence again. With my Rowland.
[9:29:36 AM]: Sean
[9:30:09 AM]: Griff
How is this device likely to be used to add safer example is a deaf school in Faribault?
[9:32:35 AM]: Sean
Everybody signs at the academy for the deaf. This unit can be used by deaf and hard of hearing students in public schools, for example.
[9:33:16 AM]: Griff
So is this product ready to be sold to public schools or other institutions government right now
[9:34:37 AM]: Sean
I am currently working with several districts that have shun great interest in this product.
[9:35:16 AM]: Griff
Sean you preferred typing over writing?
[9:35:37 AM]: Sean
naturally i prefer signing over everything but this works well for me in this situation.
[9:36:28 AM]: Griff
Okay Robert what other speech gear products are you showing right now?
[9:36:47 AM]: RDP
Actually I’m not sure we’ve entered the term speech gear into this system
[9:36:58 AM]: RDP
It’s easy to add new terms
[9:37:15 AM]: RDP
So like if you had the last name of a family or street address or something like that any sort of proper noun you can add it to the system yourself without having to come back to us
[9:37:27 AM]: Rob
We found that it’s really important for people to be able to add their own vocabulary to the system
[9:37:35 AM]: RDP
Everybody has their own acronym and terms that they use
[9:38:12 AM]: RDP
So back to your question
[9:38:24 AM]: RDP
The other products that we are selling have to do with removing the language barrier
[9:38:34 AM]: RDP
Interact instantly translates conversations into a second language
[9:38:46 AM]: RDP
If I say something in English it is voiced out in French and that person responds in their native language and hearing English
[9:38:58 AM]: RDP
This is being used right now in Haiti
[9:39:09 AM]: RDP
In addition to translation of conversations we also instantly translate documents
[9:39:23 AM]: RDP
Let me show you that
[9:39:32 AM]: RDP
So this is a product called document
[9:39:59 AM]: RDP
I think I have some documents here
[9:41:40 AM]: RDP
Right now I’m running Vista
[9:41:56 AM]: RDP
I think the issue is I had this computer in my dock and when you came in I ejected it without shutting down all the applications
[9:42:10 AM]: RDP
So the software thinks it already has the workbench running and actually probably does somewhere but I can’t find it
[9:42:30 AM]: RDP
So let me bring up English and some other language
[9:43:21 AM] English-Spanish:
Anything that I say will get voiced out in Spanish –>
Cualquier cosa que digo se expresera en español.
[9:43:50 AM] English-Spanish:
Would you like a male or female voice for the output? –>
¿Le gustaria usted una voz masculina o femenina para la produccion?
[9:44:20 AM] English-Spanish:
There, I’m now using a female voice output –>
Ahora estoy utilizando una voz femenina para la producción
[9:44:37 AM] English-Spanish:
So anything that I say it’s voiced out in Spanish and in this case the second person would speak Spanish and I hear it spoken in English –>
Entonces cualquier cosa que digo es expresado en espanol y en este caso la segunda persona hablaria en espanol y podria oirlo hablado en ingles.
[9:44:49 AM] English-Spanish:
Do you speak Spanish at all? –>
¿Habla usted español mas o menos?
[9:45:06 AM] English-Spanish:
We deployed systems to Haiti with the organization called Samaritan’s purse –>
Desplegamos sistemas a Haiti con la organización llamado bolsa de samaritano.
[9:45:17 AM] English-Spanish:
So they’re using them to talk with the local people –>
Ellos estan utilizandolos para hablar con la gente local.
[9:45:28 AM] English-Spanish:
In particular the group within Samaritan’s purse is a group of doctors –>
En particular, el grupo dentro de la organizacion bolsa de samaritano es un grupo de médicos.
[9:45:47 AM] English-Spanish:
The doctor speak English and it get voiced out in French –>
El médico habla inglés y es expresado en francés.
[9:46:15 AM] English-Spanish:
Ideally you would have had Creole because that is what most of the people in Haiti speak –>
Idealmente habríamos tenido Creole porque eso es lo que habla la mayoria de la gente de Haiti.
[9:46:28 AM] English-Spanish:
But French is the official language of Haiti –>
Pero francés es el idioma oficial de Haití
[9:46:37 AM] English-Spanish:
So most people do understand it even though they don’t use it everyday –>
Así que la mayoría de las personas pueden comprenderlo aunque no lo utilicen cada dia.
[9:46:53 AM] English-Spanish:
I can try speaking some Spanish but my Spanish is very poor –>
Puedo intentar hablar algún español pero mi español no es muy bien.
[9:47:20 AM] Spanish-English:
El reconocimiento de la español permitió –>
Recognition of Spanish is permitted
[9:47:47 AM] Spanish-English:
Necesito un médico –>
I need a doctor
[9:49:30 AM]: Griff
Shawn tell me about Ryland and where local people can see one ride one by one, Ben Witt in Faribault
[9:50:04 AM]: RDP
The more context you use the better
[9:50:20 AM]: RDP
For example, please write your name on the right side of the paper
[9:50:35 AM]: RDP
So in this case the words right and right are pronounced identically
[9:50:44 AM]: RDP
Please write your name on the right side of the paper
[9:50:54 AM]: RDP
So we’re using context in order to generate the appropriate spelling
[9:51:05 AM]: RDP
He went to see the sailors at sea
[9:51:26 AM]: RDP
Sean, are you aware that WRITE and RIGHT are pronounced identically
[9:51:38 AM]: RDP
That’s kind of interesting
[9:51:43 AM]: RDP
But then I find lots of things interesting
[9:52:38 AM]: RDP
Let’s get back to rawland and bicycles
[9:53:29 AM]: Griff
Where can people ride a Ryland bicycle and purchase one?
[9:53:57 AM]: Sean
They may visit www.rawlandcycles.com and then email me. I can arrange a test ride. They can purchase Rawland products from the web site.
[9:54:24 AM]: Sean
We will work with retailers as well.
[9:55:24 AM]: Griff
I need a bike, how do I know if a Rawland is what I need?
[9:55:57 AM]: Sean
Rawland is designed for all-around riding. You may ride it virtually anywhere.
[9:57:21 AM]: Sean
I have never tried trials riding, and would love to give it a try. i raced enduro. for what it is worth, i am proud to say that i have never raced motorcross. enduro is the real deal.
[9:57:49 AM]: Griff
I rode one motor cries and that was enough for me
[9:58:53 AM]: Sean
Becuse of Rawland, I am now getting into adventure motorcycling, which is why i test rode the R1200GS Adventure in California last December. This bike is one incredible machine. The front wheel lifted in the third gear!
[9:59:47 AM]: Sean
Dont tell my wife! She will think that i will want another toy.
[10:00:11 AM]: Griff
Okay that’s a deal I’ll keep it secret thanks for the demo today I’ve got a go earn some money