A Talking Boat
Kit Wallace has used the Raspberry Pi to create a system that monitors the status of his sailing boat and reports out loud, either on request or upon detection of a problem. Kit enjoys sailing, but with worsening eyesight, he found it harder to read the dials and screens of the instruments.
His first tasks were to select the software for text-to-speech and work out a method for the skipper to choose what information he wants to hear (GPS position, distance from a marker, or any other sort of arbitrary information from the boat’s systems). He settled on (respectively) eSpeak, which he runs in a shell from Python, and a Labtec wireless PowerPoint presenter to act as a very limited keyboard, with four buttons. He uses Python to detect when a button is pressed.
Four inputs gives enough options for navigating through a tree-based menu, where, for example, a Weather menu contains items such as Barometer and Wind Speed. Each item can also ask a specific system for an update and send the resulting text to eSpeak, which speaks it out loud.
After this is set up, you still need to look at how you integrate your data sources. Kit covers what he did on his blog: