This will probably not modify many lives, but at least, the Italian Senate stenographers will see some improvements, according to this article from PCWorld.com.
The Italian Senate has updated the mechanical shorthand technology it has been using since the 19th century and integrated it with transcription software and MIDI technology to create what it claims is one of the world's most efficient stenographic systems.
The modifications to the equipment that stenographers used in the upper house of the Italian Parliament since 1880 are now protected by an Italian patent, the Senate has announced.
"The patent applies to the keyboard and its interface with a normal PC," says Maurizio Venosi, the Senate stenographer who spearheaded the development work. His team used a modified digital piano keyboard and software that translates Musical Instrument Digital Interface data generated by the keyboard first into shorthand symbols and then into plain text, Venosi says.
As the Senate will be able to use commercial keyboards, this new system will be ten times cheaper to operate. And it also will be faster and better.
The system, which also uses artificial intelligence techniques, enables stenographers to achieve speeds of 150 to 160 words per minute, compared with typists using regular computer keyboards who operate at about half that speed, says Beatrice Gianani, the head of the Senate stenography service.
"The system is so advanced that you can teach it to correct recurrent errors. It has achieved word-recognition levels of 98 to 99 percent," she said.
Right now, this system is used by less than 100 people in Italy, but the Italian Senate thinks it's so efficient that it has a great market potential. Personally, I have some doubts.
Source: Philip Willan, IDG News Service, July 24, 2003
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