Windows' New Software Is Hearing Voices

Personal computers aren't the drab number-crunchers they were just a few years ago. Today, hardware and software makers are changing them into multimedia machines that can manipulate audio and video information as well as text and numbers. One of the leaders of the charge is giant Microsoft Corp., which in April introduced multimedia capabilities for its popular Windows software program. Now, the company will be extending those capabilities even further.

On Sept. 21, Microsoft introduced Windows Sound System. Using technologies developed and licensed by Dragon Systems Inc., the software will not only record and produce CD-quality voice and music but will also recognize a user's voice commands for control of various software programs that run under Windows 3.1. So instead of using a computer mouse, Sound System owners merely say "next window" to move to other applications or "cut" to delete text from a word-processing document. Windows Sound System, which comes with a special plug-in circuit board to handle voice recognition and reproduce sound effects, will list for $289. A package with Windows 3.1 will cost an additional $60.

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