vides much benefit to blind people in hearing the output of computers and other devices.
While this market is much more forgiving about imperfect technology because of the benefits offered, other attributes of the market have limited technology deployment. In applications of voice-processing technology for the disabled, many users have special, specific needs. These needs often require customized systems that are expensive to develop and do not lead to large enough markets for "generic" products to encourage widespread use. Thus, the costs to deliver benefits are often very high.
In addition, the incorporation of voice-processing technologies in large-scale applications to date has been expensive relative to the underlying cost of the system or device. So hospital beds and wheelchairs with speech control are still small specialized markets. However, this market shares with the telephone market the need to involve human factors professionals and systems integrators early in the commercialization process. With a broader market, lower costs, and more adaptable systems, the use of voice-processing technology will grow.
While it is recognized that many improvements in voice-processing technologies are possible, the commercialization of current technologies is under way. Greater involvement of human factors professionals and systems integrators is enhancing the possibility of commercial success. The global research community needs to continue its impressive efforts at expanding the capability of the technologies while encouraging and learning from the commercialization efforts.