When I was growing up in Ohio, ours was the only house in the neighborhood with a laboratory. In it the previous owner, Leonard Skeggs, had invented the automated blood analyzer, pretty much creating the present biomedical industry. Unwilling to let such a facility go to waste, I threw myself into research. It was 1961 and I was eight years old.

I was always drawn to user interface design and quickly settled, as Gene Roddenberry did in Star Trek half a decade later, on the idea of controlling computers with voice. Using all the cool crap my father (a natural scrounger) dragged home from who knows where, I decided to base my voice control work on […]