Email junkies could gain new flexibility from a phone access system prototyped by scientists at Siemens Corporate Research Inc., Princeton, N.J. The prototype uses a computer algorithm to analyze email and HTML documents and then plays them back as audio. What differentiates the system (three patents are pending) is that its algorithm also analyzes the format and layout elements of a document. After listening to a message, one can respond by keying in a number on the phone to record a voice message.
"We're working on converting the verbal response back into an email message at the other end and should support this feature soon," says Arding Hsu, department head, multimedia/video technology. Web access also is possible. Bookmarks can be set to gain immediate access with just a touch of a button. Links to other sites are presented via audible cues. The researchers also are working to develop a radio-enabled system for vehicles.