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Nuance Communications, and devices in place of their heads.
Apple’s iPod Shuffle, powered However, this time around,
by Apple’s own VoiceOver both gadgets offer more
screen-reading technology. nuanced, passionate perform-
Together, the two devices re- ances: As Khan, Kindle delivers
under-the-radar speech news // BY ADAM BORETZ create some of the best and a significant amount of menace
most-loved scenes from and wears a silver wig, while
science-fiction movies—all via the choppy cadence of iPod
the magic of TTS technology. Shuffle’s TTS actually sounds a
DVICE—a part of the Sci-Fi lot like William Shatner’s Kirk.
Online Network—currently of- In the most recent episode of
fers three amazing installments Talking Gadget Theater, Kin-
of Talking Gadget Theater. dle—playing the part of Darth
In their debut performance, Vader—and iPod Shuffle—
Kindle 2 and iPod Shuffle re- playing the part of Luke
create a scene from Blade Run- Skywalker—perform a classic
ner, with the former playing scene from Star Wars (Episode
the part of Holden and the lat- V): The Empire Strikes Back.
The Kindle 2 reads Darth Vader’s lines in a scene from Star ter playing Leon. Smoking in a As steam rises and his red light
Wars (Episode V): The Empire Strikes Back. dark interrogation room, Hold- saber glows, a helmeted Kindle
en—imagine the character 2 stands over the injured iPod
As anyone in the and updates on the subway, or from the movie with a Kindle Shuffle and steals the scene.
speech industry will tell you, providing customers with assis- for his head—grills the musta- “I’m your father,” Kindle TTS
text-to-speech (TTS) engines tance via an interactive voice chioed Leon—imagine the says. “Search your feelings.
are stout workhorses that response system—the technol- character from the movie with You know it to be true.”
perform a variety of vital tasks ogy had never truly reached its an iPod Shuffle for a head. And then, as iPod Sky-
in any number of vertical