Well, perhaps the end of the humble keys isn't quite here. But speech recognition is, finally, a realistic prospect. And that's due in no small part to the advances made to the technology by Windows Vista .

The speech recognition functions in the latest OS aren't exactly well-trumpeted, but they should be. Vista's speech capabilities are pretty powerful. And it's not just useful for typing letters; you can open apps, close windows and even visit web addresses - all without touching your PC. Many millions of us now have microphones connected to our PCs as a matter of course, such is the penetration of internet telephony.

Vista's speech recognition works by numbering different parts of the interface - it's just one of the ways Microsoft has implemented to make PC voice recognition a realistic prospect.

To explain more about Windows Vista's voice recognition, we've written a feature piece on the topic. It explains how you can take your first steps in voice recognition, why it's such an important feature for Vista and how you can help your PC to get better and better at recognising your voice.

Read Get to grips with Vista's voice recognition