Dynamic Text To Speech In Flash

DefaultComments Off on Dynamic Text To Speech In FlashPosted on May 24, 2002 by:
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Due to the extra traffic I got from having my blog show up in a few other blogs yesterday and today, a lot of you heard the dynamic text to speech stuff that is played back on my main Flash site. If you havent been to it or heard it, your IP address and date and time and some other info is dynamically converted to synthesized speech and delivered/played back to you via Flash .swf files. In my user forum you can also select individual message threads to be dynamically read to you. Hopefully the extra traffic and load wont kill my server. Be nice. :)There are literally hundreds of uses for this type of technology. I think it compliments the new accessibility features of Flash MX nicely. This is especially true if you must meet certain ADA requirements and you need to reach browsers and other devices that dont yet have screen reader technologies available to tie in with the accessibility features of Flash MX and the Flash 6 player. Take a look at Macromedias Accessibilitiy Resource Center and also make sure to read the first link on that page which has a lot of good information on what exactly Accessibilitiy is and what defines disabilities.

Needless to say, I have been thinking about this technology ever since and today many of you visitors wrote me to ask me how it was done. Here is some background:

I showed this presentation during last years FlashForward 2001 in New York when I demoed the solution. It provides the basic 30,000 foot concept, how the idea came about and how it came to fruition, but no real details for rolling your own version. It does however provide a lot of good hints and starting points.
The original version that I worked on with Mike Chambers requires Macromedia Generator which is being/has been phased out in favor of newer Macromedia technologies like ColdFusion MX and Flash Remoting, etc.

I do have a newer version close to completion that:

1. Does not require Generator
2. Has the potential to be much faster and more robust.

It also has some other interesting features and applications. It doesnt show it off on my site (due to not wanting to destroy my server with extra load) but even the current version I have working has the ability to sing, change voices, pitch, tempo, and sound out things phonetically by using phonemes and this can happen withing a single request.

I have not had the time nor interest from enough third parties to really justify spending a lot of effort (read: I need to get paid because I am poor and I like to eat and pay my rent) to complete the new version. From the few emails I got today there are more of you out there that are interested in deploying something like this. If there are more of you, please drop me a note with your potential application and why you think it would be cool to have this feature. This just might be the inspiration I need to take this to the next level. If you would $$ PAY $$ to have something like this definitely drop me a note! We can be friends!
UPDATE: 06/19/02 – Take a look at the main page of this blog for a new example of how this technology can also enhance an html page.

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