Hawk Software has released an application for assisting physically impaired individuals more effectively interact with their computers. YSpeak allows users to set specifications for when and how the computer will speak certain blocks or sections of text. According to Hawk Software:
Hawk Software is pleased to announce the launch of a free computer program for the disabled, ?YSpeak?.
YSpeak is a computer program for speech- and motor-disabled users. It is designed to assist in communicating in a variety of ways, reducing the input from the user to the minimum.
YSpeak is designed to run on the Apple iBook laptop, but will also run on most modern Macintosh Laptop, iMac, or Desktop computers
At its simplest, YSpeak will speak typed input, in any one of 25 different voices. Both male and female voices are provided.
As the user types, YSpeak will speak the typed text either word-by-word, by line, by sentence, or when requested by the user.
YSpeak will display the input text in any font, size, style, or colour.
To allow someone else to read the text, YSpeak can also display the text inverted at the top of the screen, so that with the iBook display folded back, someone sitting opposite the user can read the text as it is input. To allow for a limited viewing angle, the text can also be displayed in negative.
YSpeak has two user-selectable built-in Dictionaries. With either Dictionary, as soon as the user types the first two letters of a word, YSpeak will use the Dictionaries to look up words starting with those letters, and display possible words to the user, who can then select the word from this list to save typing the whole word.
YSpeak also tracks words as they are entered, and will attempt to predict the next word when one is entered. In doing this, it ?learns? from the user..
YSpeak also has 5 separate word lists, each of which allows up to 35 words to be entered by typing a single key.
A separate window also allows the user to click on any one of 42 on-screen buttons, each of which speaks a user-defined phrase. These phrases can be typed phonetically, allowing any language to be used.
To cater for users who may have difficulty with a standard keyboard, YSpeak also has an on-screen keyboard, which can be accessed with any pointing device.
YSpeak can save all input text to a Disc File, in a format that can be read by all Word processing packages.
There is no charge for YSpeak, which can be downloaded from the Internet. As the program is updated, new versions will be made available, and previous customisation can be carried forward into new versions.
YSpeak is continually updated as a result of user feedback - users are encouraged to put forward suggestions for improvement.
YSpeak is available for free. You can find more information at the YSpeak web site.