Inspired by Failure
Libsonic by Bill Cox
Bill Cox is the creator of Libsonic, a software that can speed up or slow down speech. Bill began this creation journey out of necessity: he was losing his sight and he needed a TTS software that would work effectively at the high speed he needed. The options out there at the time were not good quality and typically only went up to 2x speed, when most blind people need TTS to go up to 6x speed.
The biggest challenge that Libsonic faces is adoption, but he has seen some success with Google and Android using his software and he has created his own Java port to make his software more accessible. He has committed 182 items to the repository that he created since November 2010, making it one of the broadest repositories of its kind.
Bill is committed to improving the lives of the blind through accessibility. Most of his ideas have failed, but they have all had purpose. One of his latest ideas that has worked is a true random number generator which he programmed manually and can be housed on something as simple as a USB drive.
Bill says that the biggest key to overcoming failure is to follow through. Many ideas fail because the inventors give up or move on too quickly, not giving their ideas a good chance of flourishing. He is excited about the field of speech recognition and is intrigued by neural networks in light of the limitations of machine learning.
“For me and other blind people, the productivity of our work depends on the speed of our screen reader.”
“Google TTS at high speed is now very usable.”
“It’s easy to invent things. It’s hard to change the world.”
“In invent things, you have to imagine it working in your head, you have to build it and see that it works, you have to understand why it works, and you have to convince other people that it can.”
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