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T&D > Programs Areas >Inventory & Monitoring > Voice-Activation of a FS Application on Field Data Recorder Program Areas
Voice Activation, Phase II: Voice-Activation of a Forest Service Application on Field Data Recorder: Proof-of-Concept Study - Negative Finding

Rey Farve, Project Leader


This study is considered Phase II of the previously reported study: "Voice-Activated Personal Data Recorder/Field Data Recorder or Laptop Application."

As a result of the state-of-the-technology investigation conducted during Phase I (completed during FY 2010), San Dimas Technology and Development Center (SDTDC) a national program of the Forest Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, was aware that some computer software companies were beginning to voice-activate smaller, mobile computing devices like smart phones, mini-tablets, and personal data assistants (see section 2.2 and 2.3). (Voice activation of software operating on desktops and laptops has been available for decades.)

For FY 2011 the Inventory & Monitoring Steering Committee instructed SDTDC to follow-up the Phase I effort with a demonstration (i.e., proof-of-concept study) of how speech could be used to command-and-control a Forest Service application on a field data recorder and report on its efficiency and effectiveness.

To identify potential partners SDTDC queried several programs within the Forest Service that utilize computer applications run on field data recorders. The Forest Products Measurement Group (of the Forest Management Service Center) agreed to partner with SDTDC on this project and provide technical assistance to test one of their mobile applications for this proof-of-concept study.

Graphic of Forest Products Measurement Group logo
Forest Products Measurement Group

The Forest Products Measurement Group supports and maintains both the FSscaler and FScruiser data entry software programs for mobile applications. The field data recorder that is commonly used by field personnel for these applications is Juniper System's Allegro MX.

(Left) Photo of Allegro MX - field data recorder, (Right) Screen shot of FSscaler application
(Left) Allegro MX - field data recorder, (Right) Screen shot of FSscaler application

Since FSscaler is a simpler application than FSCruiser, the Measurements Group suggested that we attempt to demonstrate whether the FSscaler application could be made to operate hands-free on a field data recorder. (See Investigation section for a more detailed discussion of the FSscaler application.)


As such, the objective of this proof-of-concept study was to demonstrate if a Forest Service application (i.e., FSscaler) running on a field data recorder could be voice-activated to operate in hands-free mode. The intent was to demonstrate if voice could be used to efficiently and effectively command-and-control the FSscaler application when entering data under actual field conditions.