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Fwd: Visually-challenged computer users can now explore technical drawings

From: David Poehlman <david.poehlman@handsontechnologeyes.com>
Date: Sun, 31 Jul 2005 04:22:56 -0400
Message-Id: <2EBA32AD-776A-4272-A525-48689C9A67B8@handsontechnologeyes.com>
To: wai-ig list <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

>
> Visually-challenged computer users can now explore technical drawings
> IST Results, Belgium, July 26, 2005
>
> A well-received innovative, accessible system offers blind and
> visually-challenged computer users the chance to work on a range of
> digitised technical drawings and soon other drawings will be added.
>
> Digitised technical drawings are typically presented and edited on  
> standard
> PCs with appropriate software installed. However, blind and
> visually-challenged persons must access a user interface and  
> presentation
> tool specially tailored for them.
>
> The IST programme-funded TeDUB project has overcome the limitations of
> existing technologies by creating an innovative, accessible system.  
> The
> Image Interpreter analyses drawings semi-automatically or  
> automatically
> using image processing and knowledge processing techniques.
>
> Project coordinator George Ioannidis explains that the system is  
> capable of
> analysing and presenting diagrams from a number of formally defined
> technical drawing domains, primarily electronic circuits, floor  
> plans and
> software (UML) engineering drawings.
>
> Diagrams enter the system, are processed and transformed to the  
> internal
> format of the TeDUB system and accessed by the Diagram Navigator,  
> which
> allows users to interact via a number of devices, including an  
> ordinary
> keyboard for input and textual output, either accessed through a  
> Braille
> device or a screen reader.
>
> The system also offers navigation using a joystick and sound  
> notifications.
> Users can choose between interfaces. For example, the 3D sound  
> interface
> provides spatial information relating to the user's current  
> position, which
> allows them to 'walk' around the diagram.
>
> An evaluation took place in Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands and the UK
> involving 35 blind or partially-sighted participants, including  
> students
> aged 16 to 30 following courses on computer science or informatics,  
> and
> professionals aged 21 to 60, working as programmers, software  
> consultants
> and university lecturers.
>
> "They were positive about how easy the system can be learned," says
> Ioannidis. "They also liked the simple operation of the interface  
> when using
> keyboard commands and the combination of different interfaces to  
> operate the
> system, as well as how to access information."
>
> TeDUB can be integrated into available screen readers, avoiding the  
> need to
> recreate completely new software environments. It also solves a  
> problem that
> has traditionally demanded the more laborious solution of manually  
> creating
> tactile diagrams.
>
> Project partners are extending the number of types of drawings the  
> system
> can handle and plan to include business bar and pie charts found in  
> standard
> business communications.
>
> "We are incorporating TeDUB processing and presentation technology  
> into
> mainstream applications for creating technical drawings and enhancing
> accessibility," he says. Future plans include focusing on the  
> educational
> domain, specifically e-learning content."
>
> Contact:
> Dr George Ioannidis
> Centre for Computing Studies
> University of Bremen
> D-28359 Bremen
> Germany
> Tel: +49 421 2187090
> Fax: +49-421-2187196
> Email: george.ioannidis@tzi.de
>
> Source: Based on information from TeDUB
>
> http://istresults.cordis.lu/index.cfm/section/news/tpl/article/ 
> BrowsingType/
> Features/ID/77845
>
Received on Sunday, 31 July 2005 08:23:05 GMT

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