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Software Lets Programmers Code Hands-free 261

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the look-ma-no-keys dept.
Yetihehe writes "New Scientist is reporting about a new speech recognition tool that promises to let programmers write clean code without ever having to lay a finger on their keyboard. 'The tool, called VoiceCode, has been developed to help programmers with repetitive strain injury (RSI). This is a common affliction for people who spend a lot of time using a keyboard or mouse and causes pain in muscles, tendons and nerves in a sufferer's arms and back. Some estimates suggest 22% of all US computer programmers, or 100,000 people, suffer from the condition.'"
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Software Lets Programmers Code Hands-free

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  • by foundme (897346) on Thursday April 27, 2006 @11:14PM (#15218291) Homepage
    If a programer has to say if-then as many times as he types, no doubt his mouth is going to get RSI.

    Many people thought obesity is caused by junk food, but in reality is caused by having too much junk food.

    So the best way to prevent RSI is to work out a reasonable and healthy work schedule that prevents such excessive usage.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 27, 2006 @11:17PM (#15218303)
    "'The tool, called VoiceCode, has been developed to help programmers with repetitive strain injury (RSI). This is a common affliction for people who spend a lot of time using a keyboard or mouse and causes pain in muscles, tendons and nerves in a sufferer's arms and back."

    And now vocal cords. Now imagine this sytem in say a team environment. Everyone talking at once.
  • by roman_mir (125474) on Thursday April 27, 2006 @11:26PM (#15218353) Homepage Journal
    Next thing you know, software development will be hazardous to your tongue and mouth in general.

    Seriously though, I noticed that when I type, I express my thoughts in a more clear fashion than when I talk. I think this is because I am not distracted by the sound of my own voice. I can think faster than I type but not necessarily faster than I talk :)
  • Not the way I code (Score:4, Insightful)

    by litewoheat (179018) * on Thursday April 27, 2006 @11:37PM (#15218412)
    I don't know about anyone else but my code never really gets translated in my head to English or any spoken form and doing so would seriously effect my coding. When I'm in groove, I'm thinking machine not human.
  • by Pedrito (94783) on Thursday April 27, 2006 @11:37PM (#15218413) Homepage
    I've actually played around with this idea. What you really need is voice, combined with keyboard and mouse and you really could improve speed of coding. With the lookahead that most IDE editors support these days, it's pretty easy to do symbol lookups which could be adapted to voice.

    The real trick is with symbol names; variable names, method names, class names, etc. The problem is that these are not necessarily words that will be easily adapted to spoken voice, which is made significantly worse with hungarian notation.

    But if you dump hungarian notation and use descriptive variable, method and class names (which is probably a good programming practice anyway), then you can probably get by pretty well.
  • by foundme (897346) on Thursday April 27, 2006 @11:39PM (#15218428) Homepage
    So it's better off to work for the same work-hours at reduced productivity, than to have a 10-15min break every hour (reduced work-hours) with the normal productivity?

    Personally, I think it's still better off even to have reduced work-hours and reduced productivity, than having to stay in front of the mic all day.
  • by SirSlud (67381) on Thursday April 27, 2006 @11:40PM (#15218432) Homepage
    And the programmers of this software didnt get RSI why? Its easy to avoid RSI. It seems like voice recognition software to help sufferers of RSI get back to work is tantamount to putting an ambulance at the bottom of a cliff instead of a big sign at the top that says, "DONT WALK OFF THE CLIFF"
  • by erbmjw (903229) on Thursday April 27, 2006 @11:49PM (#15218473)
    Am I the only code monkey that advocates writing out at least most of your code with pen{pencil/marker} and paper? It doesn't seem to cause as many repetative injuries, but perhaps I am incorrect in that assumption.

    On a personal note: I've made my boss howl with laughter by informing him that I was on version 7 of the code related to one small project, but before I touched the keyboard I'd written out most of the changes on paper. It was even better when I showed him the scrap paper I'd been snagging from the recycling bins to do my design work on. I thought coffee was going to shoot out his nose; never had trouble getting a pay raise or vacation time from him since :)

    When I mentored a couple of young co-op programmers they, at first, thought this practice was very crazy, but after they saw the benefits of having to thinking your code through while writing it out they started to follow this practice though not as drastically as I do.
  • by exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) on Friday April 28, 2006 @12:38AM (#15218686) Journal
    I'm not sure I'd trust a system like this for a language like C, C++ or Java with its icky grammar full of parentheses, braces, commas and other types of pointless noise. But it might be nice with languages from the ML family such as Haskell where the main bit of syntactic 'glue' is simply white space. Haskell code is pretty compact too, in the sense that there's less to type per 'concept' that you want to express, so it's ideal for coding when your input rate is less than optimal.
  • Extreme Programming...for one.
  • by IAmTheDave (746256) <basenamedave-sd.yahoo@com> on Friday April 28, 2006 @09:03AM (#15220090) Homepage Journal
    So the best way to prevent RSI is to work out a reasonable and healthy work schedule that prevents such excessive usage.

    And where am I going to find a job that lets me work 2 days a week, 4 hours a day, and still pays me enough to cover the mortgage?

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