Biographical Information

Robin Springer

president, Computer Talk

Robin Springer is an attorney and the president of Computer Talk, a consulting firm specializing in implementation of speech recognition technology and services, with a commitment to shifting the paradigm of disability through awareness and education. She can be reached at (888) 999-9161 or

Articles by Robin Springer

Augmented Reality Is a Therapeutic Game Changer

Users can interact with objects in a safe environment.

Speech System Designers Need to Hold Procedural Memory in Mind

Don't assume all users will be able to follow design updates.

The Speech Accessibility Project Could Open Doors, Literally

Dysarthric speech is getting more equal representation in voice algorithms.

COVID Increased Disability, but It Also Showed How to Make Society More Accessible

The number of people with disabilities has grown, and so will the need for accommodations.

The Accessibility Lessons Learned (And Not Learned) from COVID

Did educational institutions become more inclusive post-pandemic?

Medical Practices Don’t Want to Be Pushed to the Cloud

Security/privacy concerns and administrative burdens plague cloud-based medical speech recognition.

People with Disabilities Helped Launch Speech Tech. Don’t Leave Them Behind

Design solutions that eliminate difficulties.

Poor IVR Will Make Your Customers Talk (Not in a Good Way)

Subpar design is bad for everyone.

Laws Protecting People with Disabilities Won't Work if They're Not Applied

When IVRs Discriminate: A Case Study

What happened when a plaintiff took on a big telecom. The first in a two-part series.

Pandemic Gives a Glimpse of Life with a Disability

The day-to-day just got more complicated for us all

Assistive Devices Help Millions—but They Can (and Will) Go Further

Assistive speech technology needs to be both more available and more usable

Helping the Vocally Impaired Speak in Their Own Voice

Thanks to voice banking, digitized speech retains the essence of the original speaker

AAC Tech Can Help Those with Speech Disabilities Navigate Public Places

Augmentative and alternative communication puts control in the hands of people with speech disabilities, and that should be good for businesses, too

People with Speech Disabilities Have Accessibility Requirements, Too

Businesses should consider how to make their stores hospitable to speech-disabled patrons

The Voice Option in Customer Service Must Not Be the Only One

Sometimes keypads are necessary. They cannot be taken out of the service equation.

Voice Data Collection Must Be Transparent

Consumers need to know whether their data will be used, and for what purpose

How Private Is Medical Speech Data?

Not very, as ‘anonymized' data and privacy policies show. Meaningful consent might be a start

Doctors’ Speech Data Should Belong to Them

Vendors' privacy policies can put physicians using speech recognition in a tough spot

Is Your Voice Data Safe in the Cloud?

Cloud-based files may have less legal protections than you think

Lessons From the Allvoice Patent Case

What the speech developer's suit against Microsoft means for software makers

Making Speech Recognition Accessible to All

Compliance with federal disability standards is both right and good business

In Patent Cases, Transformation Is the Key

Software validation stems from invalidation in Supreme Court case.

Are Obvious Patent Requests Simple Omissions—or Crimes?

Why the patent application process needs narrower boundaries.

Protecting Patents Just Got Easier

Do Supreme Court decisions limit patent abuse?

Smartphones and Privacy Versus Progress

With personal information more available than ever, where do we draw the line?

How Much Protection Does Software Really Need?

The unique nature of software patents makes the question a complicated one.

Universal Design Offers Options—and Access

For many, this solution provides more than just convenience.

Improving Access to the Virtual World

Universal design standards are opening doors to those with disabilities.

Putting a Price on Privacy

Are consumers sharing more than they know?

Fatal Distractions

Speech tech companies promote hands-free devices to prevent accidents.

The High Cost of Technology

It's hard to argue against progress, but it has its downside, too.

eBooks for the Visually Impaired

Kindle and other readers come up short; Justice Dept. pushes textbooks

Emergency Preparedness Is a Job for All

Court ruling in Los Angeles disabilities case teaches a broader lesson; speech-generating devices are one of several tools that could be employed

On Speech We Can Agree

Passage of legislation heralds new opportunities for the disabled.

Speech Can Help Integrate the Disabled

The technology exists to allow the disabled to live independently.

Shame On You, Authors Guild

The facts don't match the claims in the Kindle TTS debate.

Shame on You, Amazon

The Kindle maker should never have backed down on TTS.

Speech in a Virtual World, Part II

Tagging items makes them easier for speech technologies to read.

Speech in a Virtual World

Disabled users gain control of the in-world life.

Speech in an Emergency

The proper devices can help people communicate in times of need

Countdown to the DTV Deadline

Is your call center ready for conversion questions from the disabled?

Making DTV for All with TTS

Technology could help the blind get vital information.

Speech in a Digital World

The transition to digital television presents new opportunities for TTS.

Full Access Granted

Ignoring people with disabilities could mean bad news for mobile companies.

Dictation for the Mac User

A new option could loosen the Windows stranglehold.

Speech in Electronic Signatures

Voice biometrics can play a role, but we'll still need notaries.

Social Responsibility Is More than a Good Idea

Mutual respect should govern all business relationships, even in speech technologies.

Don't Believe Everything You Hear

Digital recordings don't show the same signs of tampering

A Case in Proof

As technologies evolve, proving authenticity of voice recordings will become increasingly difficult.

To Dictate or To Record?

If you were on trial for a criminal offense, facing the possibility of life in prison, would you rather have the record of your trial created based on a recording or a court reporter sitting in the courtroom transcribing what everyone is saying?

Bluetooth Dictates to Desktops

Here's a common misstatement: It is not possible to use Bluetooth headsets with desktop dictation.

The Difference Between Typing and Talking

Credibility - Let the Truth Speak for Itself

Working in the trenches with desktop dictation users over the past decade I have heard repeatedly that there needs to be greater accountability from manufacturers, distributors and resellers to accurately represent speech recognition software.

Speech Recognition: The Right to Conversational Free Speech

Is the Game Over for Speech Recognition?

Speech Recognition: Detracting the Distractions

When I recently went shopping for a new car, I was particularly looking forward to seeing how speech recognition was being marketed and sold. While I wasn't surprised to find that, at times, the accuracy exceeded my expectations, I was quite surprised by the ways in which speech technology was addressed by the salespeople. I encountered three typical scenarios: the salespeople who possessed great pride in their ability to use speech recognition, those who preferred…

A New World of Accessibility

In 1994-95, 58 percent of legally blind Americans 18 to 54 years old were unemployed, compared to 18 percent of 18 to 54 year olds with no serious impairments. The numbers are staggering, with the disparity being attributed, in part, to inadequate training in access technology and lack of awareness that technology exists to accommodate people who are blind.

Slow Moving in a Progressive State

California is supposed to be the progressive state. Named after a mythical paradise, we even have a city that legally changed the title "pet owner" to "pet guardian." While our progressive status may apply to our four-legged friends, it may not extend to all Californians, specifically Medi-Cal recipients who require Augmentative and Alternative Communication Devices (AAC) to communicate. …

Speech Technology May Be the Key

According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 2.6 million U.S. children ages 6 to 11 had learning disabilities or attention or hyperactivity disorders in 1997-1998, and the numbers continue to increase.

Recognition Software Still Needs Refinement

Speech recognition software has become as easy to find as candy canes at Christmas. From office supply stores to the Internet to consultants who specialize in speech implementation, it's pretty easy to buy the software. But once a user decides he wants to be a dictator, he needs to choose an implementation strategy.

The Case for Augmented Speech

From making airline reservations to confirming postage rates, consumers are increasing their acceptance of applications that utilize synthesized speech. While the public can be unforgiving when it comes to the naturalness of synthesized speech, demanding that speech applications sound as human as possible, could they be identifying preferences based on incomplete information?

Designing Biometric Devices

While biometrics are intrinsically accessible for people who are disabled, a single biometric cannot accommodate all users.

Desktop Dictation: Then and Now

Desktop dictation has changed in the 10 years I have been in the field. From available features to distribution channels, let's take a look at where we were, where we are, how we got here, and where we might expect to go.

Addressing the Accessibility of TTY with VoIP

Results are back from early adopters and, according to Alex Hadden-Boyd, director of marketing for IP communications at Cisco, the ROIs are being measured in months, not years.

Voice over IP is becoming mainstream.

It's All About the Caller

In this electronic era with wireless PDAs, email and the Internet, where on the urgency scale is your telephone as a must-have? According to the Gartner Group, 92 percent of business transactions are completed over the phone, so it's pretty high up there.

Wellness Checks

Wellness Check programs such as Guardian Calling by Reverse 911, C.A.R.E. by DCC and Command Caller by Voice Technologies, usually integrated into Emergency Notification Systems, monitor local residents to ensure they do not require assistance from emergency personnel.

XyberKids: Helping Kids Assimilate

How does a company that provides wearable computer solutions for the military and corporate heavyweights, such as Federal Express, Bell Canada and Lockheed Martin, transition into helping kids with disabilities improve their communication and social skills? If you are Xybernaut, you modify your trademarked durable, droppable diminutive box into XyberKids, a product that not only helps kids interact, it helps them assimilate.

Most Innovative Solutions Awards 2003

Speech Technology Magazine (STM) is recognizing companies using creative speech-service applications. Organizations worldwide are increasingly using speech to improve customer service, increase revenues, empower workers and introduce other creative solutions. We have recognized solutions that have impacted organizations in ways that are innovative and unique. These solutions are changing the way companies do business and proving that speech will play a major role in a company's customer service, marketing and sales strategy.

Integrating Speech Into The Big Picture of Ergonomics

When we are typing on the computer we may have one hand on the keyboard, our other hand on the mouse, our eyes on the screen. We are in a locked position. When we factor in talking on the phone without a headset or sitting in a maladjusted chair, the situation becomes worse.

Is the Game Over for Speech Recognition?

Speech recognition is finding its way into video games, but not from an accessibility standpoint. Instead, speech is being integrated to enhance the experience for hard-core gamers. Manufacturers publicize speech recognition as a new game play option, not as a way for an individual with a disability to join his friends in a social activity.

Keeping The Consumer In Mind

QPointer Suite, a speech-recognition product offering dictation as well as mouse-less computer operation, is the creation of a company with a novel business strategy; to create a flawless assistive technology (AT) product for the disability market before branching into the mainstream arena.

Improved Education Could Increase Technology Use

In Russia, children with disabilities can be denied an education. In America, we have IDEA. In Brazil, it is acceptable to deny employment to a person with a disability, specifically because he or she is disabled. In the United States we have the Ticket to Work program. In Italy, there are buildings with steps, but no wheelchair ramps. In the United States, we have the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Doing It All

A key grip in the entertainment industry, a general contractor, licensed electrician and a martial arts instructor, Billy communicates with people all day long.

Compensating for the Challenge

If an American goes to Paris and cannot speak French, is the American disabled? She is challenged at the very least. Put her on a telephone in the foreign country, needing to communicate without the benefit of hand gestures or facial expressions, and her handicap becomes greater.

When Multimodal Isn't Useable In Any Mode

As technology progresses, devices become smaller in size. Remember first generation "mobile" phones? They were mobile all right, but they were practically the size of a small child, weighing a few pounds, and barely meeting the airline's size requirements for carry-on luggage. But they served our purpose and we were grateful.

Assistive Technology

Each of us has dreams, but sometimes fall back on excuses when those dreams are not achieved.