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Technology / AI and automation


Belgian software house Lernout & Hauspie Speech Products NV is claiming a breakthrough in the continuous speech command and control market with the launch of its new product Kurzweil VoiceCommands. The product, available initially in the US with a retail price of $60, comes as a result of Lernout & Hauspie’s $53m acquisition of Kurzweil Applied Intelligence Inc earlier this year (CI No 3,141). Users can edit and format a document in Microsoft Word by voice instead of using the keyboard and mouse. The software needs at least a 100MHz Pentium 100, 24Mb RAM, and 20Mb of hard disk space running Microsoft Word 97 or Word 7 to run properly. The product is said to enable users to speak naturally, and understands a variety of commands for any given action, and is not limited to a rigid set of commands which the user must memorise and employ. VoiceCommands is initially available only in the US. The launch coincides with the company’s acquisitions of Madrid, Spain-based C&L Servicios Linguisticos SA for $2m, and Lisbon, Portugal-based EMTI Ltd for $3.9m. C&L specializes in lexicography and terminology, and EMTI is a translation and localization specialist for Brazil and Portugal.

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