Talking computers were on fire 20 to 30 years ago. Movies like War Games and TV series like Knight Rider featured electronics speaking to their human operators. Speak-n-Spell machines taught a generation of children. Then the magic was out of the bottle and the focus drifted to other technologies.
Today, we have a new explosion of voice enabled devices. They announced this week the Amazon Echo will read Kindle books You will see more devices speaking with the growth of the Internet of Things. Special speech systhesis chips of old are no longer required. The smallest of today’s Linux computers often has the capabity to output speech. This includes the Raspberry Pi line of single board computers.
From the Raspberry Pi Zero to the A+/B+ to the Raspberry Pi 2, all have the capacity to run free software to turn text to speech.
This tutorial will show you how to have your Pi use the free software packages Festival and its derivative Flite to output voice.
Festival, written by The Centre for Speech Technology Research in the UK, offers a framework for building speech synthesis systems. It offers full text to speech through a number APIs: from shell level, via a command interpreter, as a C++ library, from Java, and an Emacs editor interface. Festival is multi-lingual (currently British English, American English, and Spanish. Other groups work to release new languages for the system. Festival is in the package manager for the Raspberry Pi making it very easy to install.
Flite is a lighter version of Festival built specifically for embedded systems. It has commands that make it easier to use than Festival on the command line. It runs faster than Festival. Unless you have the need for Festival’s complex scripting language or phoneme handling, Flite is the go-to program. Flite is also in the package manager.
There are other speech programs for Linux, including eSpeak. If you find that Festival / Flite does not meet your needs, then check out eSpeak or other packages.
We are angry, frustrated, and in pain because of the violence and murder of Black people by the police because of racism. We are in the fight AGAINST RACISM. George Floyd was murdered, his life stolen. The Adafruit teams have specific actions we’ve done, are doing, and will do together as a company and culture. We are asking the Adafruit community to get involved and share what you are doing. The Adafruit teams will not settle for a hash tag, a Tweet, or an icon change. We will work on real change, and that requires real action and real work together. That is what we will do each day, each month, each year – we will hold ourselves accountable and publish our collective efforts, partnerships, activism, donations, openly and publicly. Our blog and social media platforms will be utilized in actionable ways. Join us and the anti-racist efforts working to end police brutality, reform the criminal justice system, and dismantle the many other forms of systemic racism at work in this country, read more @ adafruit.com/blacklivesmatter
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.