Digitech Inc., a small St Louis-based telecommunications company, sparked some interest when it claimed last month to have achieved a breakthrough in computer speech recognition that went far beyond current research in the field. The breakthrough was described as a circuit board device that worked like the human ear, which could be attached to virtually any computer, hear sounds from different speakers and, without any delay, translate them onto a computer screen or perform commands, bypassing and virtually eliminating the conventional keyboard. But when it came to the crunch, what was demonstrated represented no advance on existing systems, simply putting up on the screen a few words clearly aruticulated. The company still claims it will have something much more dramatic to show in the autumn, but analysts and professionals in the industry are sceptical of its claims, because they have heard it all before from the company. Digitech still believes that it will soon have a product that will sell for under $2,000 and revolutionise applications like credit card authorisation.
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