On Thursday, Sweden’s KTH Royal Institute of Technology announced that it would be working with Wikipedia in developing the first crowdsourced speech engine. The project is geared towards providing a Wikipedia experience for visually impaired users. According to Wikimedia Sweden, around 125 million users prefer speech. This makes up around 25-percent of monthly uses.
In true Wikipedia spirit—and to push development along—KTH will also work with users to contribute to the engine’s content. It wasn’t mentioned how far along the project is nor how potential verbal vandalism will be prevented.
The platform that will power the engine will be optimized primarily for Wikipedia, but will be open source for sites that make use of MediaWiki. KTH has said that the engine will be available in Arabic, English, and Swedish by next September. After its launch, Wikipedia and KTH are looking to make the speech engine available in 280 languages.