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Apparatus and methods for developing conversational applications

Apparatus with accompanying subsystems and methods for developing conversational computer applications. As a user interface, the apparatus allows for a user to initiate the conversation. The apparatus also answers simple and complex questions, understands complex requests, pursues the user for further information when the request is incomplete, and in general provides customer support with a human like conversation while, at the same time, it is capable to interact with a company's proprietary database. As a development tool, the apparatus allows a software developer to implement a conversational system much faster than takes, with current commercial systems to implement basic dialog flows. The apparatus contains three major subsystems: a state transition inference engine, a heuristic answer engine and a parser generator with semantic augmentations. A main process broker controls the flow and the interaction between the different subsystems. The state transition inference engine handles requests that require processing a transaction or retrieving exact information. The heuristic answer engine answers questions that do not require exact answers but enough information to fulfill the user's request. The parser generator processes the user's natural language request, that is, it processes the syntactical structure of the natural language requests and it builds a conceptual structure of the request. After the parser generator processes the user's request, a main process broker feeds the conceptual structure to either the heuristic answer engine or to the state transition inference engine. The interaction between the main process broker and the subsystems creates a conversational environment between the user and the apparatus, while the apparatus uses information from proprietary databases to provide information, or process information, during the course of the conversation. The apparatus is equipped with a programming interface that allows implementers to declare and specify transactions based requests and answers to a multiplicity of questions. The apparatus may be used with a speech recognition interface, in which case, the apparatus improves the recognition results through the context implicitly created by the apparatus.

Apparatus and method for incision-free vaginal prolapse repair

InactiveUS20050199249A1Simple, minimally invasive and inexpensiveQuick fixSuture equipmentsBed wetting preventionVaginal ProlapsesDistressing
In a preferred application, e.g., the repair of vaginal prolapse after relocation of the vagina and any organs displaced by the prolapse, corrective surgery is initiated by applying a hollow tubular element, formed to forcibly insert a barbed anchor attached to a distal end of a first length of suture, without any incision, from the inside of the vagina through the vaginal wall (the supported tissue) into selected support tissue within a patient's pelvis. This involves puncturing and thus locally severe physical distressing of both the supported tissue and the support tissue. The barbed anchor is left in the support tissue as the tubular element is then withdrawn from the support tissue and out of the vagina, leaving the proximate end portion of the suture extending through the vaginal wall into the vagina. A second such anchor, with a second length of suture attached thereto, is similarly inserted adjacent to the first anchor. The proximate end portions of the sutures are tied to each other inside the vagina, to thereby secure the vaginal wall to the support tissue with corresponding punctures formed in each by the insertions of the two anchors being thereby held in respective, precisely aligned, intimate contact during healing. This results in a pair of fused scars that cooperate to permanently bond the vaginal wall locally to the support tissue. If the sutures and/or the anchors are made of absorbable material they will all eventually disappear and the fused scars will provide the permanent bonding. If the anchors are made of non-absorbable material they may remain where located. A plurality of such paired fused-scar bonds may be generated, at the surgeon's discretion, to ensure adequate support for the repaired vagina. The apparatus and method can be readily adapted to similarly effect deliberate, local, beneficial bonding between other adjacent living tissues in a patient.
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