Friday, August 21, 2009

Help people regain speech

Every year, thousands of people around the world lose their ability to speak. Some are struck dumb by strokes, while others' voices are stolen by degenerative diseases such as ALS or muscular dystrophy. These people can regain their ability to communicate by using speech augmentation software or devices to speak for them. Unfortunately, the obscene prices of both the software and hardware prevent many people from communicating.

I want to solve this problem by developing an open-source speech-augmentation program. My goal is to create a cross-platform speaking program with both a symbol-based and text-based interface. I plan to write the program in Python with an emphasis on flexibility and extensibility. I plan to abstract both the input and output interfaces, allowing the program to be independent of both its text-to-speech engine and its GUI framework.

Consider this post a project announcement and a call to action. If you'd like to help people regain the ability to speak and you have experience with Python, interface design, text-to-speech, or accessibility, send me an email. I need all the help I can get.