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These requirements obviously limited the number of people with whom a handicapped person could communicate.

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A method of locally presenting to a human user an alphanumeric message comprising a sequence of words based on tone signals received over a telephone line, said signals having been entered on the keypad of a remote tone-generating telephone dialing device, said method comprising the steps of:converting the received tone signals into electrical signals, each electrical signal representing the activation of either a numeric key or a control character key on the keypad, each numeric key signal representing a single alphabetic character or number;assembling the electrical signals into a series of input units, each input unit consisting of one or more numeric key signals followed by a control key signal and representing one word in the sequence of words;locally outputting the message by presenting the retrieved words in a sequence corresponding to the input unit series and in a form perceptible to the human user with multiple words stored at a location being identified and presented to permit the human user to select the most appropriate of the multiple words from the sequential context in which it is presented.6.The method as defined in claim 5 including the additional step of responding to a predetermined sequence of control key signals by presenting the numeric representation of an input unit without performing the step of accessing a database.7.As an example, the "2" key on a standard telephone has "ABC" alphabetic characters and the user has to press several keys to indicate whether he intends an "A" or a "B" or a "C".One of the known ways of doing this requires that the user depress the "1" or the "2" or the "3" key for a relatively long interval to indicate whether he intends the first or second or third alphabetic letter in a set.The user then depresses the key containing the appropriate set of alphabetic characters.

Another known technique requires that the user press the appropriate key one to three times quickly to identify which character on that key is intended.The system as defined in claim 8 further including means responsive to a predetermined sequence of control key signals for sending an input unit to the presenting means in the form of a sequence of one or more numbers without addressing a database.11.For use in a system having one or more databases of words stored in records with each record including a numeric record number, a method of locally presenting to a human user an alphanumeric message comprising a sequence of words based on tone signals received over a telephone line, said signals having been entered on the keypad of a remote tone-generating telephone dialing device, said method comprising the steps of:converting the tone signals into electrical signals, each electrical signal representing the activation of either a numeric key or a control character key on the keypad, each numeric key signal representing a single alphabetic character or number;assembling the electrical signals into a series of input units, each input unit consisting of one or more numeric key signals followed by a control key signal and representing one word in the sequence of words;locally outputting the message by presenting the retrieved words in a sequence corresponding to the input unit series and in a form perceptible to the human user with multiple words stored in any such record being identified and presented to permit the human user to select the most appropriate of the multiple words from the context in which it is presented.12.The method as defined in claim 6 including the additional step of responding to a different predetermined sequence of control key signals by presenting an end-of-sentence indicator without performing the step of accessing a database.8.A system for locally presenting to a human user an alphanumeric message comprising a sequence of words received over a telephone line as a series of tone signals entered through the keypad of a remote tone-generating telephone dialing device, said system including:means for converting received tone signals into electrical signals, each electrical signal representing the activation of either a numeric key or a control character key on the keypad, each numeric key signal representing a single alphabetic character or number;means for assembling the electrical signals into a series of input units, each input unit consisting of one or more numeric key signals followed by a control key signal and representing one word in the sequence of words;means for locally outputting the message by serially presenting words stored in any such records in a sequence and in a form perceptible to the human user of the system, said last-named means identifying and presenting multiple words having the same numeric record number to permit the human user to select the most appropriate of the multiple words from the sequential context in which it appears.9.While such systems were clearly useful, they did not have drawbacks.