# [texhax] beamer and "Read out loud"

James Quirk jjq at galcit.caltech.edu
Sun Apr 18 15:17:03 CEST 2010

Victor,

On Sun, 18 Apr 2010, Victor Ivrii wrote:

>
> Sure I know this option but the problem is that I want to drop on the
> screen the beamer with a lot of pauses and to have a proper
> synchronized reading. Basically I am interested in such reading for
>
> \begin{itemize}\begin{itemize}[<+- | alert at +>]
>
> \item (no more than 1 line)
> \item (no more than 1 line)
> \item (no more than 1 line)
> ....
> \end{itemize}
>
> and at the moment when the line is read, it also should be highlited

Your query follows on from the one you asked me offline: can a PDF be
controlled remotely? Yes it is possible to use pdflatex to construct
a document where text is read out and lines are highlighted in sync,
and it can be automated after a fashion. The approach relies on
using JavaScript and its tts methods, rather than the more common
tagged screen reading. One weakness of the approach
is tha there is no tts method for waiting on the speech buffer to
drain. Another, which is probably a show stopper in your case, is that
the software approach is not beamer friendly. For it works best
when the main presentation is /Widget based rather than page-stream based.

It's on my TODO list to prepare an example for Ross Moore that
shows how the approach might be used to walk a reader through
a long, complex equation using multiple scans. In the mean time
you might care to take a look at:

http://www.amrita-ebook.org/frpaa/draft/jfk-9-12-1962.pdf

which shows a different, but related problem: how does one
synchronize a speech, in video form, with its transcript.
The example was my way of celebrating the 30th anniversary
of the moon landing. It's plucked out of a portfolio
which discusses the Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA),
and so some of its features won't work, but the synchronization
does. And as luck would have it, the FRPAA was reintroduced
to the US House of Representatives last Friday, and so is topical.

My portfolio on the act, see:

http://www.amrita-ebook.org/frpaa/draft/jjq-frpaa.pdf

is a bit of a dog's dinner, and not really intended for public
consumption. But all I'm really pointing out is that if the
act were embraced by the agencies it targets there
will be a need to accelerate the development of document technologies
that support the concept of active books which allow readers
to try out the reported work firsthand .

James