BOSTON — Researchers are working on many new ways to communicate with ever smaller computers. Some emerging technologies:
Voice recognition/reproduction: A voice recognition system allows computers to take dictation, understand commands, or listen for a particular voice as a security measure. Voice reproduction can help give those with speech problems an alternative means to speak.
Wearable computers: These tiny computers can travel with us anywhere. One already fits on a belt.
Handwriting: Some devices, such as Palm Pilots, can recognize special handwriting now, but advances in technology could lead to almost any handwriting being translated into text or computer commands.
Optics: Special glasses could allow people to use a computer simply by looking at commands on screen.
Gestures: A digital camera and software could recognize certain hand signals or even facial expressions.
Tactile input/output: A special glove with sensors could recognize hand gestures, such as American Sign Language, more quickly than words typed on a keyboard. Likewise, such a glove, or even a special computer mouse could signal the user when they run into the edge of a window on the screen or a line of text, for instance.
Brain waves: A helmet could measure brain waves to determine what commands the user wants to execute.
Cybernetics: Chips embedded in clothing or even under one's skin could provide identification or follow simple routines such as turning on lights and checking e-mail.