As we did the virtual walk-through of the typical tasks of a carputer user, we realized the need to minimize the use of keyboard and pointing devices for command input. Further simulation of the user experience clearly showed a touchscreen to be a requirement than an option for this project.
As much as a touchscreen may be preferred over the keyboard, the most natural user interface for giving commands would still be voice. Voice interface and speech recognition have always been available on the Mac for system level commands. It has not been a feature most people use because in everyday situations the keyboard is just better.
Based on our usage tests, the keyboard or even a touchscreen is NOT the most convenient input interface for a driver in a vehicle...as those that have tried dialing a phone will attest.
When we spec'ed out this project, we wanted voice as the primary command interface. We just didn't know if it was a realistic option. The Porsche Boxster's interior is probably a bit noisier than most cars, but it is still a pretty controlled enviroment. We would still have the touchscreen as an alternative and some sort of keyboard as the last resort/backup.
After looking at several software and hardware combinations, we decided to go with MacSpeech's iListen software and Griffin Technology's iMic and Lapel Mic hardware.
The hardware installation was extremely simple. The Lapel Mic plugs into the mic input port of the iMic device. The iMic plugs into the Mac via USB.
All of the devices were recognized by OS X Tiger without any additional driver installation. We confirmed a successful hardware install using the Mac's native speech recognition software.
The next segment will detail the iListen software installation and test.