Surfing with ears

Programmers at the University of Darmstadt in Germany have combined the Internet and advances in speech recognition to develop an information system which can be accessed by telephone.

Dialogue with the system is possible because of the simple text-oriented structure of HTML pages, and, in principle, any HTML page can be read out. A caller hears the contents of a specially designed start page on the server, and links are indicated by a voice change in the speech synthesiser.

The vocabulary of the speech recogniser is adapted to the links of the current page, so that when the caller says the name of the link the system will open the relevant page.