PDF to mp3 converter 
The PDF to MP3 converter converts text documents in PDF format into recorded speech. The text to speech conversion will enable blind people to have easier access to electronic material. Other groups of people with learning or reading disabilities will have an easier time processing the electronic information. 

The project has two parts: a complete implementation and background research into which disabled groups, i.e. blind and learning disabled, can benefit from electronic text readers.

Progress Report

  • The current demo I have automatically converts a pdf file into mp3 format. I edited some HTML and manually converted WAV to MP3 although in the future this will be automated.

  • The pdf file is my Fall 02 IP
    *magic converter*
    Zipped Mp3 files (20 MB) (disabled for now, need more disk space)
  • PPT Presentation
The detailed technical description of is project is:

PDF --> text --> text-to-speech --> audio --> saved audio file.

There is existing software for each stage that I would integrate. Adobe has an Acrobat SDK, which can extract text from a PDF. The text can be converted to speech with the Microsoft text-to-speech software or maybe even Jaws. The generated speech can be played immediately or saved to file (WAV or Mp3 format). The different components can be combined using Microsoft tools, such as Visual Basic or Visual Studio C++.

PDF 2 text
An Adobe SDK provides a programmable interface to the Adobe Acrobat Reader and Abode Acrobat (the full version). The SDK should provide access to the text of the PDF. There are other solutions on the web to access text from pdf. Here are some solutions.

Microsoft provides free text-to-speech software. I imagine possible enhancements to simply reading the text with one voice. The voice could change from a man's voice to a woman's voice when reading titles, italics, or other outstanding text.

Save speech to audio file
The MS text-to-speech generates the audio and can also store the audio to a WAV file. I am sure code exists to convert the WAV to mp3. Once in Mp3, I could imagine downloading the audio to an MP3 player and listening to the PDF paper while walking outside, riding the bus, or in the car.

Disability study

The second element to this project is to investigate the significance of a PDF reader for those who are disabled. Obviously, blind people will be able to benefit. Sighted, however, who have learning disabilities can also benefit. Chapter 6 of the class text book describes how text-to-speech is beneficial for the learning disabled. I also plan to interview the experts at the university learning disability center to find the benefits of text-to-speech software. 
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dorian miller, 1/29/2003