Scientists at Siemens Corporate Research have developed a prototype system that enables one to access e-mail messages or World Wide Web pages using any touch-tone telephone, including a cellular phone. For those away from the office, or with no laptop readily available, the system promises to fill one of the last communication gaps. Called DICE (Delivering Information in a Cellular Environment), it uses a computer algorithm and speech synthesis tools to analyze e-mail and HTML documents, and then play them back as audio. The algorithm not only analyzes a document's text, but also its structure for audio presentation. To use DICE, one simply dials up a service provider and uses the telephone keypad to access web pages; to respond, users key in a number on the phone to record a voice message. "We're working on converting the verbal response back into an e-mail message at the other end, and should support this feature soon," adds Arding Hsu, department head, Multimedia/Video Technology. Contact Guy Pierce at email@example.com.
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