I was recently asked whether I had an app which could help someone who has some fine motor skills have his Windows 7 tablet PC speak for him. The person has no gross motor ability and cannot talk. So in order to explore this idea, I built a simple app which recognizes gestures to speak whatever words or phrases you'd like. The gestures can be made with a finger on a touch computer, or if you have a pen-enabled computer you can use the pen that came with the computer. You could also use a mouse.
If you have feedback on how Herbi Gestures could be made more useful for you or people you know, please do let me know.
Using Herbi Gestures
When you run the app, this window will appear:
You can make this window as large or as small as you want. To close the app, click the small red button with the 'x' in it at the top right corner of the app.
If you find it easier to read text in a window using particular colours or text sizes, let me know, and the app can be updated to allow you to customize these things.
If you click on the "Set Speech" button, this window will appear:
Each line starts with a gesture name, and then shows the text to be spoken when you make that gesture in the first window that appeared. The following four gestures have some default text already:
To change or add text to a gesture, double click on the line with the gesture. When you do that, this window will appear:
Type the new text you want spoken when you do the gesture, and then click the OK button. For example, you might want "Hi" spoken in response to the Up gestures, as shown below.
If you then click the small red button at the top right of the "Customize speech" window, you're back in the original window that appeared when you ran the app.
You can then use your finger or pen to make a gesture in the window. If the app doesn't recognize the gesture, the text "(Gesture: No gesture)" will appear in the top left corner of the window. If the app does recognize the gesture, then the name of the gesture will appear. For example:
The ink which appears when making the gesture is removed once the gesture is complete.
The first time Herbi Gestures speaks after the app is run, there can be a delay of a few seconds before you hear anything.
The text spoken is also added to the window, as shown here:
So let me know how you'd like this app updated to work best for you, and I'll see what I can do!
Installing Herbi Gestures on your computer
To download Herbi Gestures, click Install Herbi Gestures. After clicking on this link, press the "Run" buttons on the first window that appears, and then click the "Next" buttons to continue the installation. Once you've clicked "Close" on the last window to appear, the installation is finished. The installation may say that something called the ".NET Framework 4.0" is required. This is a Microsoft feature which helps with gestures and speech. If this isn't already on your computer, it can be downloaded for free from Microsoft.com.
You can then run Herbi Gestures app from the desktop shortcut called "Herbi Gestures".
Once you've finished with Herbi Gestures app you can remove it from your computer by going to the Control Panel's Add or Remove Programs, and removing "Herbi.org Herbi Gestures".