EPSON, represented by TE Australia , has presented an embedded text-to-speech system (TTS) that allows text messages (such as email and SMS) to be converted into audible speech.
Although the technology has been available for many years it is only with recent advances in digital signal processing and speech understanding that the technology has been able to meet customer expectations of quality with a reasonably small footprint (and hence cost).
For the first time, TTS can be embedded in a variety of low-power, portable applications for large-volume consumer applications such as mobile phones.
Epson's embedded TTS technology builds on many years of experience of CMOS processing and close collaboration between the European Design Centres (in Barcelona and Scotland), the Tokyo Design Centre and the US supplier of the core TTS engine.
The Epson TTS system demonstrated at electronica 2002 is based on the ARM7(core and the DECtalk TTS system from the Fonix Corporation, which has one of the highest intelligibility ratings for one of the smallest footprints for any TTS system in the world.
For applications such as SMS, where the intelligibility/footprint combination is the key requirement, EPSON's TTS offering is the only viable option.
Furthermore, the EPSON TTS system is a completely unconstrained system - that is, it could be applied to a wide variety of applications, from reading e-books aloud, to phonetic email, to aids for hearing impaired people.
It has many attractive features which allow the customer to 'tailor' the system with different voices, stress, delivery rate, and emphasis, all providing an element of novelty and fun that help to make the technology compelling.
It is also important to appreciate the safety aspects of TTS systems, as they allow for hands-free and eyes-free operation where it would be unsafe or impractical to do otherwise.