Inspiration

This project was inspired by the iMD Research Challenge, which suggested designing a platform where people could listen to audio recordings of others reading the textbooks and novels they need to read. This provides an alternative for students who deal with learning disorders such as dyslexia, or for those that are just tired of staring at small print all day.

What it does

SpeechUP serves a dual function; it first provides the tools required to record a contributor's voice, allowing it to be directly uploaded to the site and providing multiple categorisation options to specify what is being read. It also serves as a database where people can search for specific books and listen to the recordings others have submitted.

How we built it

HTML was used to structure the webpages and CSS was used to design them. JavaScript was used for the audio-recording mechanism, and PHP using a MySQL database to store data.

Challenges we ran into

The biggest challenge lay in recording the audio. Using the host server we had, we didn't have an SSL certificate and so we ran into several authentication issues. We only realized this later on, when even basic JavaScript functions became impossible to use on a remote server. As a result, the software is only available on devices that have direct access to the resources until we can get this certificate, as the security issues prevent the code from running. Furthermore, the recording mechanism is limited as it cannot be paused and restarted, but once started must run through a preset amount of time, and we were unable to modify this given the limited time we had. Furthermore, the audio takes up large amounts of space (20 MB for 2 minutes) and given current recording methods is not sustainable.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

The accomplishment we're most proud of is the audio recording system. This took a fair of time to implement, and a lot of troubleshooting as it continually failed to cooperate.

What's next for SpeechUP

Our first goal is to try to get the SSL certificate so that the platform can be accessed on different devices, as without that the rest of the concept is moot. Then we would like to improve upon the recording system so that the length can be determined by the person recording, and can be paused and restarted. Finally, we would add a thumbs up/thumbs down type rating system, so that people could evaluate submissions, and those with multiple down votes would be removed from the database as a sort of quality control to limit invalid submissions.

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