W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-voice@w3.org > July to September 2000

Voice browser patent

From: Leonard R. Kasday <kasday@acm.org>
Date: Thu, 31 Aug 2000 15:14:05 -0400
Message-Id: <>
To: www-voice@w3.org
This is notification that a patent was issued last week that includes 
(among other things) a way to scan a web page via audio.

Basically, the web page is parsed into "elements" which may be HTML 
elements such as titles, etc. or heuristically selected parts of text, e.g. 
the first sentence of each paragraph.  Each element assigned a value, which 
might be thought of as "importance" or "salience".  The user sets a 
threshold value.

Then, when the user scans a page, everything above that threshold is read, 
and everything below the threshold is replaced with a babbling sound 
suggestive of a tape recorder played at high speed, with additional sounds 
giving an idea of what is being skipped (e.g. "bings" for links, snippets 
of skipped material).  For example, on one setting the user might hear the 
first and second level headings, plus the first two sentences of each 
paragraph, interspersed with babble, and punctuated by occasional 
"bings"  representing the skipped text and links.  The user can change the 
threshold at any point to change the level of detail heard, or simply read 
everything from that point.

This is just a partial, informal description.  The full text and images are 

Kasday, LR,  Aug. 22, 2000, Patent 6,108,629,  Method and apparatus for 
voice interaction over a network using an information flow controller

You can full text and images at
the US patent office site http://patents.uspto.gov/access/search-bool.html
Or IBM's patent server http://www.patents.ibm.com/

search on year 2000,  inventor kasday


- This system would provide one way to address the Web Accessibility 
Initiatiative  (WAI) User Agent Guideline 7, Provide Navigation Mechanisms 
http://www.w3.org/WAI/UA/WD-UAAG10-20000818/#gl-navigation .  It would work 
best on pages being properly marked up in accordance with the WAI content 
guidelines http://www.w3.org/TR/1999/WAI-WEBCONTENT-19990505/ ,   The 
heuristics could be used in accessibility "filter" tools being considered 
by the WAI evaluation and repair tools group http://www.w3.org/WAI/ER/IG/

- I happen to be the inventor, but have no financial interest in this 
patent as the rights were assigned to the comany where I was employed at 
that time,  AT&T.    (So it could have been me or AT&T to post this 
email... I chatted with Lorrie Cranor, AT&T's W3C rep, and we decided I'd 
be the one).

- I'm posting this on the voice browser list and will point to it from the 
patent issue and web accessibility lists.   Please try to keep all 
discussion on the voice browser list to avoid scattering the discussion.

Leonard R. Kasday, Ph.D.
Institute on Disabilities/UAP and Dept. of Electrical Engineering at Temple 
(215) 204-2247 (voice)                 (800) 750-7428 (TTY)
http://astro.temple.edu/~kasday         mailto:kasday@acm.org

The WAVE web page accessibility evaluation assistant: 
Received on Thursday, 31 August 2000 15:12:12 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.1 : Tuesday, 6 January 2015 21:07:34 UTC