VOISS - Introduction
Written by Rich Morin.
Precis: an overview of the VOISS project
Note: As of early 2020, the VOISS project and F123Light were discontinued. For details, see VOISS - Status.
VOISS (formerly F123) was started by Fernando Botelho, a blind “social entrepreneur” who wants to make accessible and economical computers available to the blind and visually impaired. He is an Ashoka Fellow and has received many honors and awards for his work.
VOISS has recently started selling the VOISS Classic as an assembled product. However, you may find the Loja virtual VOISS (i.e., VOISS Online Store) page a bit difficult to read until they put up an English version. So, I had Chrome translate the page and then edited the content a bit. This is my recasting of its content; YMMV:
The VOISS Classic is a talking computer that is completely adapted for use by the blind. The hardware is basically a collection of readily available components, including:
The system sells for $200 to $225, depending on the capacity of the selected microSD card (32 to 128 GB). The modular design allows any component to be replaced without tools, allowing a blind user to customize, extend, and maintain the system. The system software, based on Arch Linux and other open source packages, comprises a full-featured operating system, including: a high quality voice synthesizer (Leticia VOISS) and screen reader, and assorted text-based applications (e.g., email software, text editor, web browser).
This is a convenient offering, and I encourage prospective users (especially Brazilians and other speakers of Portuguese) to check it out. However, this isn’t the only way to acquire a running system. Indeed, VOISS encourages folks to build their own systems and train others to do so, as well. If you can attend (or even help to create!) a local course, you’ll learn useful things and meet folks with similar interests.
In the meanwhile, I have been working on a modest effort at a HowTo, supplemented by some overview pages which I hope you’ll find to be interesting and/or useful. See the VOISS - Index page for details.