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MetaTexterface

interactive text to speech and other thoughts
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The simple texterface would be a feature for a digital audio book reader that shows up as a slider or scrollbar or touch panel at the bottom or side of a touch screen on which the text of an audio book is displayed, that lets you hear a synthesized voice read -- and see a highlight applied to -- each word, as you run your finger across its length.

On the other side of the screen could be another slider that can be assigned to incrementally changes any of the following: the number of words that the first panel is divided into, the volume/pitch/tone of the voice, the strength/subtlety of automatically-related images that pop up in a corner of the screen that are related to the meaning of the text, or other stuff like that. That panel could be called the metatexterface.

This feature could be built into an application like the Read2Go app for iOs which is a digital audio reader targeted at students with learning disabilities.

This idea is inspired by a refreshable Braille display that plays a synthesized vocalization of each word as the user runs their finger across the refreshable pin-based display.

So if you dont know Braille, but you understand english, you can run your finger across the Braille and hear the book and listen to the whole book that way, and after a couple of books you will know Braille. So why aren't Blind kids learning Braille this way? I think because the Braille displays cost too much money to justify buying one for each student, although they may be coming down soon.

But I think that the feature of bundling one kind of learning into another should be liberated from that specific application and applied more generally.

So if you already like listening to books on tape, why couldn't the english words of an audio book you were listening to be displayed visually in Spanish as you were listening (even though the grammar wouldn't be right - you would be bundling the learning of vocabulary into the process of listening to the story.

Another aspect of this could be slowly morphing the visual mapping of the audio at a rate that is controlled by a loop back into the system. So somehow measuring how quickly the person is learning the mapping and then changing it at the ideal rate for an increasing amount of learning. So you could slowly change the visual mapping of an audio book from different fonts at first to different languages to a system of images to any kind of visual mapping of the audio spectrum, and then measure how the person retained it.

JesusHChrist, Jun 13 2012

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       Interesting..would it be possible to have a word replace filter?   

       I mean something that could find replace "you are a complete idiot" with "you are a wonderful human being" in all those job-application rejection letters I get.   

       Also the security would have to be good as someone's absolutely bound to write a Tourette syndrome virus for it.
not_morrison_rm, Jun 13 2012
  

       Come to think of it, the simple texterface should first be implemented as a VoiceOver feature on iOS (on the iPad) that allows the reader to, once VoiceOver has started reading, then run their finger across the screen while maintaining constant contact with the screen to determine the reading speed, and then lift their finger to stop the voice, and then put their finger back down on the right side of the screen and start running it toward the left to continue reading. This would not interrupt the flick gesture which changes focus to the next line. A So the two finger swipe down already reads from the cursor to the page bottom at a constant speed. The slow swipe gesture would give people with learning disabilities Braille- like (truly interactive) access to the text.   

       On the other hand maybe it should just be a direct finger to speech mode for learning disabilities. The only thing there would be the manual dexterity needed to actually hit the words.
JesusHChrist, Dec 09 2013
  
      
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