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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

Voice Commands for the Computer

I have a friend that is blind and uses the computer as you do. I have watched how he manipulates the keystrokes to accomplish his task and have noticed that it is a lot of memory work. I know I’m not telling anyone on this site anything new.

So I investigated voice commands for a computer. I found a product called Voiceattack made for the computer game players. You can set up commands or series of command that are executed when you speak the code words for that command. Gamers are way out there and there isn’t much that this product can’t do.

So this is great, he says ‘Open Books’ and the Voiceattack software executes firefox, opens the Bard website and fills in the User and Password and he is set to download the books he wants. It works.

But, and there is always a but, Voiceattack can speak, which is great because it can confirm that it recognized the voice command and accomplished the task. This computer also has Freedom Scientific’s Jaws installed, so both of them are speaking which cause some confusion. So right now I’m having an technical issue trying to mute Jaws during the Voiceattack processing.

My main question, is there a product that already does what I am trying to accomplish?

Oh, by the way, the cost of a license for Voiceattack is $10.00 You can’t beat that can you. Now I just have to make it work with Jaws.

Any comments, ideas, technical advice on my issue. I would love to hear it.

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Re: Voice Commands for the Computer

Well I made this work using information from various internet searches using a visual basic script. The documentation JAWs provides leaves a lot to be desired, at least for me and I have been programming since 1965. It sure could use a lot more examples in the documentation. So I am not real sure about the Parameters values and the choices I have.

Sound off

Option Explicit
Dim oJaws
Set oJaws = CreateObject("FreedomSci.JawsApi")
oJaws.SayString " ", 1
' Run a function
oJaws.RunFunction "Speechoff(0)"
Set oJaws = Nothin

The nothing “ “ SayString with a 1 is suppose to flush the Jaws speech buffer and then the Speechoff (0) turns the speech off
Not real sure if that should be 0 Parm or a False word.

Sound On

Option Explicit
Dim oJaws
Set oJaws = CreateObject("FreedomSci.JawsApi")
oJaws.RunFunction "SpeechOn()"
Set oJaws = Nothing

This turns the sound on, again, not real sure what should be in the Parm for the SoundOn function.

This seems to do what I need, Jaws sound is turned off, the voice control sound is on and not competing with Jaws and then when the voice control accomplishes its task, Sound is turned on. If the voice control task was to open a program, Jaws starts giving detail information about that program. The Programs are very small.

I tried to use the StopSpeech function but Jaws does not recognize as a valid function. I’m using Jaws 16.0 in a demo mode.


Re: Voice Commands for the Computer

Yes, he does wear a headset with a mic. The issue is that both Jaws and Voiceattack are speaking at the same time. Jaws doing its thing and Voiceattack doing whatever I put in the script file which is a say command to confirm that Voiceattack is processing. It just get confusing.

It appears my only option is to write a script in Jaws to mute it while Voiceattack is processing, turn Jaws off at the strart and on when Voiceattack is done. That means I have to learn another programming language and procedures for Jaws. So I better get to work and get educated in Jaws script and get it done.

I feel this approach can be an interesting and worthwhile project to supplement tools for a blind person and the computer.

Re: Voice Commands for the Computer

Has he tried wearing a headset with a mic? That way, when Voiceattack is speaking, the mic can't hear it.

Re: Voice Commands for the Computer

Only thing I can think of is to mute Jaws while the other software is in use through the Jaws configuration settings.
this of course, is only an option if he has a braille display in absence of the speech output. to have some kind of dynamic link that will swap one for the other would be some serious scripting, and probably require access to the modular code of both programs, which I don't really see as an option.
good luck.

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