[Bookreader] Text to Speech readers for XO

Gregor Kervina gregor.kervina at gmail.com
Mon Oct 26 20:01:08 EDT 2009

Hi Sayamindu,
thanks for quick reply!
There is a lot of text to speech software out there - I use
http://www.bytecool.com/coolspch.htm that you can try trial and download
additional voices, just to get a feeling, but it is not free and not for
linux. Many other programs are more complex and complicated and some of them
use very complex voice engines that in my opinion doesn't sound very good.
(I use Mary voice with cool speech)

OK I spent some time to find all TTS software that is free for linux and
here are some links:

http://larswiki.atrc.utoronto.ca/wiki/Software  - see the links under Speech
http://www.cstr.ed.ac.uk/projects/festival/onlinedemo.html - listen to some
demo voices
http://sourceforge.net/projects/dhvani/ - this one not english
http://www.speech.cs.cmu.edu/hephaestus.html - click the links in Speech
Synthesis section
http://www.linux.com/archive/feature/122197 - two readers - plug-ins for

I can not test them because I'm not a linux user. Maybe you can modify some
of these software (probably Festival) for more user friendly reading and
maybe program a specific button on XO keyboard that will automatically read
the selected text no matter what program is used for opening the text.

Judging from google search result for DTBooks, this technology is not spread
at all. The other problem is that it uses somtimes recorded audio and the
size of that is too large for XO... I think the most important is that TTS
works with reader that will open 1.6M e-books from internet
you in this team?).

Also one important thing is to add cheap headphones with laptop so children
could listen to reading without desturbing others and in the noisy
environments ... another advantage of audio reading is much longer battery
life because you can turn off LCD monitor and audio alone does not consume
much energy.

Let me know what you think.
All the best,

On Mon, Oct 26, 2009 at 4:08 PM, Sayamindu Dasgupta <sayamindu at gmail.com>wrote:

> Hi Gregor,
> Thanks a lot for jumping in :-)
> On Mon, Oct 26, 2009 at 2:38 AM, Gregor Kervina
> <gregor.kervina at gmail.com> wrote:
> > Dear Sayamindu Dasgupta, SJ Klein and other members of this list,
> >
> > I'm a student of electrical engineering from Europe and would like to
> share
> > with you my very positive experience with text to speech technology that
> can
> > in my opinion significantly increase the educational potential of XO if
> used
> > in the right way.
> >
> > For the past 12 years (since I was 15 years old) I'm daily learning from
> > e-books and internet using text to speech software. I know this software
> is
> > unpopular in developed world, many people don't even know that it exists.
> On
> > the other hand many people (including me) don't like reading long texts
> on
> > the LCD screens - that's why e-books are also not very popular.
> >
> > But unlike my friends I read 50+ e-books every ear and also daily news on
> > the internet - I just select the text, copy it, and CoolSpeech software
> > (using Mary voice) reads me all the text with speeds 300 to 500 words per
> > minute. In this way I can browse other sites or look at photos or just
> lay
> > down and listen while my laptop is reading to me.
> > Other people don't understand what I'm reading because it is too fast for
> > them but it can be learned quickly with slower speeds at beginning.
> >
> > I think XO laptops should definitely have such software pre-installed and
> a
> > video introduction how to use it and what reading speeds can they expect
> > after some time of practicing.
> > It is also ideal for children with poor eye sight.
> >
> This sounds awesome. Could you let us know if the text to speech
> software you have in mind is free/opensource and if it works on Linux
> ?
> I am also looking at DTBooks specifications for digital talking books
> - do you know how useful/widespread this technology is ?
> Thanks,
> Sayamindu
> --
> Sayamindu Dasgupta
> [http://sayamindu.randomink.org/ramblings]
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