Voicesuite: The Ultimate Frontier

by Ernesto Dini

Voice synthesis makes accessible each Microsoft Windows-based functionality.

Among the many activities going on at the Istituto Cavazza, the research, study, development and dissemination of telecommunication and technology aids occupy an important place. These technologies allow blind and visually impaired persons to overcome, in matters of information and communication, those difficulties that pose a constant threat to their ability to remain in the never ending race for progressClose up picture of a mobile phone keypad. The new product developed by the Istituto Cavazza is a voice synthesis software, called Voicesuite, which enables full accessibility to handheld computers and mobile phones based on Microsoft Windows Mobile's operating system.
The objective of this research and development project was to facilitate the management of the most common functionalities offered on such tools: telephone (including the management of instant messaging), addressbook, agenda, reading of over three thousand books easily downloadable from the Servizio Telebook of Cavazza and over twenty newspapers also downloadable from the Galiano Library, emails, access to important Internet services (televideo, info 892412 and train schedules), recording, calculator, stopwatch, etc. The Voicesuite software was officially presented by the Istituto Cavazza and the Centro Nazionale Tiflotecnico last October 8 during a meeting which brought together a large number of blind and visually impaired persons who demonstrated a keen interest for the various process and practical applications of this new product.
In order to encourage and promote the dissemination of Voicesuite, the Istituto Cavazza and the Italian Blind Union have decided to reduce the price of purchase of the software (50 Euro plus tax) for the first thousand applicants. The financial commitment supported by the two institutions to produce Voicesuite is remarkable, but economic considerations come second when the primary goal is a concern for the integration, training, rehabilitation and independence of persons who are blind or visually impaired.