a-technic: adaptive and assistive technologies

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Pipistrelle overview

Pipistrelle is a low-cost, easy-to-use computer for delivering spoken voice newspapers/periodicals, music CDs, and other audio content. The target audience for this consumer device is vision-impaired people without computer skills.

The goal of Pipistrelle is to give blind and partially-sighted people access to a wide range of informational and entertainment media content in the comfort of their own living room. Rich but intuitive navigation features permit the user to easily browse large amounts of content.

Services available in the first release of Pipistrelle will include the following.

Pipistrelle is a small linux computer with a built-in CD drive in a box about the size of a set-top cable TV box or a games console. It can output audio via a TV, hi-fi, or an optional stand-alone powered speaker.

Content is delivered to Pipistrelle either over a broadband internet connection or via CD.

A key element of the Pipistrelle project will be partnerships with organisations capable of providing timely content online (e.g. daily newspapers) and less time critical material via nationwide CD distribution.

Plain text and other non-audio elements of content are synthesised into speech by Pipistrelle using state-of-the-art natural voice speech synthesis.

Pipistrelle has a small number of intuitive controls for navigating a publication: going from the contents page to an article, going back to the contents, skipping forward and backward, etc. All help and tutorial material for Pipistrelle is audible. There is no display, and the only printed manual is a basic hardware trouble-shooting guide for use when the audio is not functioning (this manual and initial setup instructions are also provided in braille and on an audio cassette.

We anticipate that when Pipistrelle is made commercially available it will be as part of a package that includes:

How much will it cost?

The target price for Pipistrelle is less than £500.

When can I get one?

Pipistrelle is currently in development.

How do I keep in touch with developments?

If you are interested in being automatically notified about Pipistrelle developments, then send an email to info@a-technic.net

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