Re: [Kde-accessibility] Proklam and KMouth

Hi Gunnar,

Good to hear about your KMouth project to provide augmentative communication functionality in the Linux environment. There are quite a few special purpose devices which do this today in the commercial world, and I'd bet that a number of those companies would be very interested in supporting and re-packaging a general purpose Linux solution.

I highly recommend you check out the GNOME Accessibility work (see The GNOME community is developing a rich accessibility infrastructure on top of the GNOME 2 library stack, including the GNOME Accessibility Service Provider Interface (which should really perhaps be called the GNU Accessibility Service Provider Interface) which is used by several assistive technologies (such as Gnopernicus - the GNOME Screen reader/magnifier; and GOK - the GNOME On-screen Keyboard) to get access to all of the applications written using the GTK+ libraries, Java Swing libraries, as well as StarOffice and Netscape. User-interfaces which support the AT SPI (either directly or through one of several bridges) would therefore work with these assistive technologies.

Also part of the GNOME Accessibility work is the gnome-speech project, which provides an API to text-to-speech engines (both software and hardware). gnome-speech presently has drivers for Festival, FreeTTS (a Java port of Flight [Festival Light]), and the ViaVoice engine (IBM's packaging of the Eloquence engine now distributed by SpeechWorks). We are looking at various hardware synthesizers as well, such as the popular DECtalk Express.

It would be great of KMouth could work with gnome-speech, and thereby support all gnome-speech synthesizers. And, especially if you are concerned about finding ways for users with limited physical dexterity to drive the KMouth interface, you might consider supporting AT SPI. If you did, users with significant physical impairments who used the GNOME On-screen Keyboard, coudl also use KMouth. This would thereby provide immediate access to users of single-switch systems, sip-puf straw devices, mouth-sticks, head-mice, and even eye-tracking systems.

Please don't hesitate to ask questions on this list - <gnome-accessibility-list gnome org>. You'll find a large community of experts here.


Peter Korn
Sun Accessibility team

Gunnar Schmi Dt wrote:

I am writing a project called KMouth, which enables persons that cannot speak to let their computer speak, e.g. mutal people or people who have lost their voice (like my mother, who cannot control her tongue).

Among the planned features of KMouth are the possibility to select phrases from (user defined) phrase books (so that regularly used phrases do only need to be typed in once), and the selection of a language that is used for the pronounciation (so that English phrases can be spoken with an English pronounciation and German phrases can be spoken with a German pronounciation, for example).

Currently the program uses a shell script for the actual text-to-speech conversion. As I have seen that Proklam shall provide both an interface for other progams to speak and a module in kcontrol, I would like to use Proklam as standard text output system, so I don't have to deal with configuration issues.

From the messages on the mailing lists, I have understood that Proklam does not support more than one text-to-speech system at a time. However there are some multi-lingual text-to-speech systems (e.g., Festival --- if what I have heard is correct). What I have not yet found is information whether these languages can be specified when letting a text be spoken.

An other issue is that you might need to use more than one tts-system in order to provide all languages of your interest (for example English and German for my mother). So I have basically two options:

Either I have to implement my own GUI for a multilingual text-to-speach system that uses a number of simple shell scripts (one for each language), or I have to find a mechanism to switch the language within Proklam. Of course I would prefer the latter, as I do not wish to duplicate functionality of Proklam.

Also, as I am currently using hadifax (in combination with mbrola) as a German tts system, I think about helping to write a Proklam module for hadihax.

Gunnar Schmi Dt
kde-accessibility mailing list
kde-accessibility mail kde org

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