Világhalló Online Reading System
The blind and visually impaired people can use electronic books and other texts without visual information using our "Világhalló" system. They have the possibility not only to listen to the texts, but they can turn pages or place bookmarks. The " Világhalló" is an open source online reading software, which makes any text audible on the Internet in spoken language.

The philosophy and IT solution of the "Világhalló" basically differs from screen reader programs, where the users have to provide and update the software components, they have to load and save the texts and take care of the copyright matters, etc.

The " Világhalló" is an integrated on-line service. It forwards the available texts as a combined text and voice flow to the user (as a text radio) using special - developed for this purpose - voice-text synchronised protocol (wow). This protocol allows the user to navigate.

This solution has an advantage regarding the copyright, because the text alone is not accessible by the user, it is not downloadable / saveable, so it is exempted from copyright.

The application gives a central option reading exceptional words (has to read not so as it is written), foreign words, names, etc.

The system provider updates the software components, the changes of Internet texts and makes them accessible to the users. Some of the main points are as follows: TTS (Text To Speech) engine upgrade, (for instance optional tone, optional speed) other language TTS engines install, use of electronically accessible texts, standards (XML, TEI), application of the latest results of computer linguistic.

"Világhalló" deals with stored text irrespective of its genuine format (HTML, ZIPHTML, TXT, ZIPTXT, MSWORD, RTF, XML, SGML) and transforms them into a format for best reading aloud. The software gives to the text informative, structural annotation concerning the reading aloud (like sentence, paragraph, strophe, chapter, etc. or foreign word pronunciation even in inflected form).

The user doesn't need any knowledge about the used software components and the other resources, because these are bought and supplied by the software provider. The load of a thin client program and even a phone Internet connection is sufficient to use the service.

The " Világhalló" provides a friendly nonvisual user interface for the blind and visually impaired. This interface can be customized, concerning both the look and the control functions. Once customized, it remains the same while the application can be updated at every connection (Webstart).

One of the most important user function is the "Bookmark", which allows the user to continue the reading aloud exactly from where it was stopped previously. (An average book's reading takes 12 hours).

Recently the 'Világhalló" is connected to the blind-friendly website of the Hungarian Electronic Library (VMEK) and reads its texts. The system uses the Profivox TTS engine.

The Profivox is a Hungarian TTS engine. This engine is a result of almost ten years of development of famous researchers working at the Telecommunication and Media Informatics Dep. of the BME. It is developed continuously. The access is not free.

The " Világhalló" is a unique product worldwide.

The software was developed by the K-PRO Plc. in a project started by the Szabály Information Technologies Plc. which was supported by an IHM R+D tender. The Beta version with the necessary JAVA software components is accessible from the website http://www.vilaghallo.hu

To use the services of Világhalló, the client program should be installed. Furthermore, to run the Java client the Java Runtime Environment (JRE) and Java Web Start Application Manager are needed as well. Web Start will control the download and upgrade the Világhalló client. The download page checks whether the necessary components are installed. If not, it automatically redirects the user to the pages where these components can be downloaded from.

info at kpro . huKPRO