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Re: "A New Way to Read, Not See, Maps"

From: David Poehlman <poehlman1@comcast.net>
Date: Sat, 28 Sep 2002 08:36:10 -0400
Message-ID: <008801c266eb$9fcf0ed0$1cf42041@inspiron5000e>
To: "Harvey Bingham" <hbingham@acm.org>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

there is a quite simple yet elligant way that has been around for a long
time to achieve this and it does not have to be re-invented.  I wonder
how much research went in before this thing was thrown together?  A
grand toy indeed but consider nomad which was fully functional in the
early 90s and ran in dos.  It used one's finders on a specially designed
tactile board on which you could place a tactile representation of a map
and coded regions of the map would provide audio/braille information
about the region.  This was employeed in geography class as well as in
hotels and large buildings.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Harvey Bingham" <hbingham@acm.org>
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Sent: Friday, September 27, 2002 6:21 PM
Subject: Fwd: "A New Way to Read, Not See, Maps"

Abstract from
ACM TechNews Vol 4, Number 404, September 27, 2002

Wired News (09/25/02); Tosczak, Mark
Software developed by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
offers visually impaired users a way to navigate maps, thus opening up
their participation in geographic research. The Blind Audio Tactile
Mapping System (BATS) is set up so that a sightless user can move a
cursor over a map and determine location and the position of prominent
features by hearing audio cues. For instance, moving the cursor over
land produces the sound of horses galloping, while moving it over water
produces the sound of waves hitting shore. Meanwhile, a speech
synthesizer reads out the name of locations the cursor passes over, and
sometimes spells it out if pronunciation is difficult. Users navigate
with a trackball interface, which proved to be a cheaper and easier
alternative to an early prototype's stylus and touch screen. BATS grew
out of a undergraduate computer science class project organized by
professor Gary Bishop, and Python was selected as the software's
programming language. The students responded so positively to the
challenge that they asked Bishop permission to refine the system over
the summer, and Bishop secured funding from Microsoft to support their
efforts. A new team is incorporating tactile feedback into BATS via
trackballs and mice with force-feedback.

Regards/Harvey Bingham
Received on Saturday, 28 September 2002 08:36:11 UTC

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