MOTIVATION Percentage distribution of Number of people (in thousands)Visually blind worldwide Impaired per million total population Africa China 15% 21% America 8% Emirates 12% India 21% SEAR (India Ex) WPR 10% Europe (China Ex) 7% 6% About 8.075 million of 39.365 million in India! Only 5% of them receive any kind of assistive technology support!Pascolini D, Mariotti SPM. Global estimates of visual impairment: 2010. British Journal Ophthalmology Online First published December 1, 2011 as 10.1136/bjophthalmol-2011-300539.
A long term study by accessibility researchers in Portugal found that the blind more time searching for contacts or typing text-spentmessages than actually calling! The problems faced by the blind in India in accessing assistive technologies is much greater!Tiago Guerreiro, Hugo Nicolau, Joaquim Jorge, and Daniel Gonsalves. 2009. NavTap: a long term study with excluded blind users. In Proceedings of the 11th international ACM SIGACCESSconference on Computers and accessibility (Assets 09). ACM, New York,NY,USA,99-106.DOI=10.1145/1639642.1639661 http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1639642.1639661
Current Assistive Technologies Technology Braille Display Price $(USD) Braille Sense Plus Yes 6000 Voice Sense No 2000 VoiceNote BT No 1900 Refreshabraille 18 Yes 1700 PAC Mate BX 400 No 1400 EasyLink & Pocketwrite No 1000 GalaTee No 400Do these technologies solve the problem of Pictures: (top-right left-right)Braille Sense Plus;Information accessibility for the blind VoiceNote BT; GalaTee, Refreshabraille, Easylink respectivelycompletely?Brian Frey, Caleb Southern, and Mario Romero. 2011. Brailletouch: mobile texting for the visually impaired. In Proceedings of the 6th international conference on Universal access in human-computerinteraction: context diversity - Volume Part III (UAHCI11), Constantine Stephanidis (Ed.), Vol. Part III. Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Heidelberg, 19-25.
Drawbacks of these Technologies 1. Expensive!! 2. Additional item to carry 3. Batteries, and setup time 4. Procurement in India 5. Truncated features while customization 6. Reduced computational capabilitiesTiago Guerreiro, Hugo Nicolau, Joaquim Jorge, and Daniel Gonçalves. 2009. NavTap: a long term study with excluded blind users. In Proceedings of the 11th international ACM SIGACCESS conference onComputers and accessibility (Assets 09). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 99-106. DOI=10.1145/1639642.1639661 http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1639642.1639661
Research ProblemHelping the blind access generalinformation almost as seamlesslyas normally sighted people!
Our ApproachCould accessible smartphones bea possible solution?
Why this Form Factor? A simple observation- New York Times applications Smartphone App iPad App WebsiteSmartphones present information in the mostcondensed format, hence reduce screen-reading time!Apart from being Ubiquitous, Affordable, Connected & Mobile
Learning with BrailleThe Braille code consists of a 3 by 2 binary matrix en-codes up to 63 characters In English Braille, a single combination encodes one character.Mario Romero, Brian Frey, Caleb Southern, and Gregory D. Abowd. 2011. BrailleTouch: designing a mobile eyes-free soft keyboard. In Proceedings of the 13th International Conference on HumanComputer Interaction with Mobile Devices and Services (MobileHCI 11). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 707-709.
BrailleTouch Georgia Tech Research Drawbacks: Numeric keypad does not have a fairly easy implementation Needs both the hands to input text Feedback for entire sentences along with each character not implementedMario Romero, Brian Frey, Caleb Southern, and Gregory D. Abowd. 2011. BrailleTouch: designing a mobile eyes-free soft keyboard. In Proceedings of the 13th International Conference on HumanComputer Interaction with Mobile Devices and Services (MobileHCI 11). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 707-709.
TypeInBraille University of Milan Subdivided a braille cell into 3 parts (Derivative of the BrailleTouch project) Drawbacks: Needs TWO or more gestures for each letter. Involves splitting each Braille cell into 3 parts mentally which might lead to slower typing speeds. Numeric keypad does not have a fairly easy implementationJoão Oliveira, Tiago Guerreiro, Hugo Nicolau, Joaquim Jorge, and Daniel Gonçalves. 2011. BrailleType: unleashing braille over touch screen mobile phones. In Proceedings of the 13th IFIP TC 13 international conferenceon Human-computer interaction - Volume Part I (INTERACT11), Pedro Campos, Nuno Nunes, Nicholas Graham, Joaquim Jorge, and Philippe Palanque (Eds.), Vol. Part I. Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Heidelberg, 100-107
TalkingDialer Google’s Eyes Free projectDrawbacks:Alphabetic keypad is not intuitive at all, needs knowledge of the spacialpositions of some alphabetsTechnique assumes the presence of Hardware call button.No user interaction studies available for this project although OpenSource OpenSource code and documentation: https://code.google.com/p/eyes-free/
Field Study in India - Visit to Blind Peoples Association
Blind Peoples Association (BPA)• Established in 1947• BPA works out of 15 campuses, has 300 odd professionally qualified staff• It has a number of innovative programs, such as schools, a national rehabilitation engineering institute, a computer training centre, an electronics training centre, a bakery and food products division for disabled women, and a number of vocational courses. www.bpaindia.org
Mr. Tarak Luhar Principal at BPA School“One Braille cell is mapped to THREE different languageswe teach here apart from Arithmetic numbers!”“I want to experience color”“My salary is Rs. 35,000 per month and I cannot affordthose „Braillo‟ computers that are available!!” Copyright: Fynn Studio, Santa Monica, California
Mr. Rahim Khan Braille Teacher, Toys and puzzle maker“We try and maintain the teacher-student ratio at about1:10 so that the children get more attention per class.Also handling more children would be really tough forblind teachers.”
Mr. R. P. Soni Coordinator BPA Technology Lab“I dislike the Braille writers because I can‟t communicatewith the normal sighted people through braille”“Not only are the specially made devices costly but alsoreduce the functionality while trying to accommodate theneeds of the blind. ”Unplanned Demo of TalkingDialer, Quick learner! Copyright: Fynn Studio, Santa Monica, California
JAWS (Job Access With Speech)computer screen reader program (text-to-speech output or by aRefreshable Braille display)most popular screen reader worldwideUsage License cost: $1095!Drawbacks: On large screens, a lot of unnecessary information is audio read to the blind user (example- Advertisements on web pages, toolbars in mail, options menu etc.) Only Audio feedback available for normal desktopsWikipedia.org & the JAWS website. JAWS is produced by the Blind and Low Vision Group of Freedom Scientific, St. Petersburg, Florida, USA
Amitt Patel Alumnus of the BPA Technology LabEmployed at SBI, Online Banker and Stock Broker!“I use my smartphone for send email and staying intouch more than my laptop!”Demo of TalkingDialer and BrailleTouch. He learnt both within a minute ofinstruction (even after the bug in BrailleTouch‟s feedback)!!! In touch with him via email!