Speak to me
Reading on the Beeb today about a new talking search engine from a Scottish-based firm called Speegle. The results are read out (with a choice of voices) which to some may be a novelty but I imagine it could be useful for anyone who has vision problems. Tried a few searches but the site is very busy at the moment, no doubt with people like me trying it out :-). The voices are all rather artificial, which is not overly surprising – not quite Stephen Hawking, but certainly not natural either. However, taking the glass half-full view it could be seen as a step closer to a more natural human-machine interface – after all if the user were able to talk to the computer and hear the response it may make life easier, not only for visually impaired or disabled users but also for the increasing numbers of ‘ordinary’ folks who are getting web access but aren’t overly au fait with IT.
When and if that happens can you imagine the accessories companies will offer us? Have your computer talk to you in a variety of famous voice: movie stars, singers, models. Perhaps you will have a small virtual representation of the person as well. Seem far-fetched? Well, look at the money being made from customising mobile phones now.
DOWNLOAD VIRTUAL VERSION OF MOVIE STAR AND SINGER MISSISSIPPI D’ORLEANS. VOICE INTERFACE MAC, WINDOWS, MOZILLA COMPATIBLE (VIRTUAL GRAPHIC AVATAR WITH REALISTIC FACIAL RESPONSES ALSO AVAILABLE, WINDOWS ONLY) – CONTACT WOOLAMALOO VIRTUALSTARS ONLINE NOW! TOP VIRTUAL STARS THIS WEEK: WINSTON CHURCHILL, MARILYN MONROE, KYLIE MINOGUE, LUCY LIU, HOMER SIMPSON. SPECIAL OFFER ON DAVID BLUNKETT, ROLF HARRIS. FREEBIE OF THE MONTH: HELP YOURSELF TO PARIS HILTON (YUP, WE HAVE TO GIVE IT AWAY). COMING SOON: BORG VOICES (AVAILABLE IN NASTY BORG OR SEXY BORG QUEEN); K-9; STEPHEN HAWKING. SINGING MODULE DUE EARLY NEXT YEAR – TEACH YOUR VIRTUAL VOICE INTERFACE TO SING (may not work with certain model voices).
And for more fun just think on those late-night cable adverts telling you of the amazingly gorgeous and sexy virtual girls just waiting to download and chat to you RIGHT NOW! And all the swapping of virtual interface stars via file-sharing sites – anyone got the adult-hacked version of Christina Ricci?Ah, technology, ain’t it wonderful?