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I just returned from the Assistive Technology Exhibition and Demo in UCC, where UCC invited a number of vendors and resellers to display assistive technologies aimed both at the educational and home environment. It was a excellant event, with a large number of attendees. Congrats to the event organisers. Micromail chose to demo Dragon NaturallySpeaking, a popular product which allows users to convert speech to text.

Dragon NaturallySpeaking Demo

Dragon NaturallySpeaking, produced by Nuance, is currently in version 11 and boasts 99% accuracy. Although seen chiefly as a dictation tool, this software will also allow users to control and navigate their computer by speech alone. Applications for Dragon extend from home use to professional medical dictation.

There was great interest in Micromail’s stall on Wednesday with Fionán and myself fielding questions from parents of school-going children, students and teachers alike. Most of the queries revolved around the dictation feature of Dragon, with parents of dyslexic children seeing the possible benefits of ‘talk to text’ technology. However the computer navigation  features were also popular, many people with mobility problems finding the idea of using the computer without mouse and keyboard very helpful.

Aside from fielding questions on Dragon’s features, I also presented two half hour demos of Dragon. These proved hugely popular, with many people seeing Dragon in use for the first time. I demonstrated the dictation feature of Dragon initially, dictating some pieces of text from classic books. Any mistakes in dictation were dealt with easily, highlighting the intuitive ‘correction’ methods of Dragon. After manipulating the text I used Dragon to save the file to specific folder, using only speech commands.

With only half an hour to display as many of the features as possible, I chose to show Dragon at work on the internet. Getting onto Facebook and www.studentsoftware.ie being browsed with ease, before closing the show with a Q&A session.

Language Packs

One of the best questions was regarding language packs for Dragon. Can a secondary school student switch between English and French within the one user profile? Having consulted with Nuance the answer was overwhelmingly positive. All language editions of Dragon come with English also, so for example if you were to purchase the French edition you would also get English free of charge. This will allow users to switch between both languages within their user profile, allowing homework to get done faster across Europe!

Draw Winners

Most people who visited Micromail’s stall at the open-day entered a draw for an 8GB iPod Nano and iPod Dock.Two winners were selected yesterday evening and have been contacted. Micromail would like to thank all those who organised the Assistive Technology (AT) Exhibition in UCC and those they met in the course of the day.

Please contact sean@micromail.ie or fionan@micromail.ie if you have any queries on the info above.

Sean.

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