Approximately 1.7 million people in France are visually impaired, and 1% to 10% of the French population is affected by DYS disorders. All these people have difficulty reading, and for them audio books are both a necessity and a pleasure.
However, choosing and listening to an audio book when you are blind or visually impaired is not easy: an helping person is essential for the choice and an accessible reading app like Thorium Reader is required for listening.
To ease access to audiobooks for elder people, EDRLab is therefore developing a platform interfacing a smart speaker (Google Home and Amazon Echo) to a digital media library able to expose its audio book files in a standard way. The software we are developing is open source and can be easily deployed in the cloud. The standards chosen are those of the Readium community (OPDS 2 catalogs, Readium Web Publications, Readium Packaging Format, OAuth2 authentication). An automatic DAISY audio to Web Publication transformation tool is integrated into the project.
The project will last two years. The objective for 2021 is to put online a platform offering basic functionalities to a panel of beta-testers, members of our first partner, the Valentin Hauy Association, equipped with Google Home devices. The features will be completed in 2022 according to the panel’s feedback, with an extension to Amazon Echo speakers. The platform will then be made available to more EDRLab partners and we will be able to provide technical support to media libraries willing to implement the solution.
We are currently trying to get funding for this project via a crowfunding effort on the French Ulule platform.
Please watch this video (in French) and participate to the effort!.