Regina Health District
Director: Dr. Chris Ekong, Neurosurgeon
Severe spinal cord injury resulting in quadriplegia usually has devastating consequences on the patient's ability to function at home and at work. Marked increase in speed and power of personal computers, affordable prices, and the development of excellent voice recognition programs in the last few years have made voice computing very practical for spinal cord injury patients.
We set up a Voice Computing Lab in the Neuro-Trauma Research Unit , Plains Health Centre , University of Saskatchewan, Regina, Canada, approximately 3 years ago to make this technology available to all our spinal cord injury patients. The main computer setup consists of a Pentium computer with a speed of 166 megahertz, one gigabyte of hard disk space, 32 megabytes of random access memory (RAM), and a 16 bit Soundblaster sound card. The voice recognition software is Dragon Naturally Speaking. The general purpose software is Microsoft Office 97 (a package consisting of a word processor, a spreadsheet program, a database program, and a presentation program.
Each patient is helped to create his or her voice file. They are then instructed to use various programs exclusively by voice command. These programs include word processors, spreadsheets, databases, presentation programs, and accounting programs. Patients are also able to activate other appliances such as the compact disk player for data and music , and to access on-line services such as bulletin boards and the Internet purely by voice .
This technology has provided some hope for increased productivity for these spinal cord injury patients in spite of their quadriplegia. The experiences of some of our patients with severe spinal cord injury who now use the "Dragon Dictate for Windows" and "Dragon Naturally Speaking" voice activation program been presented in academic gatherings.
We are grateful to the following donors to the South Saskatchewan Voice
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Last Updated: February 23, 1998
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