Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Software Lets Blind Use Any Computer

tidbits that tantalizeI Hear You Now...

Just as we left the pad and pencil behind, we're quickly moving away from the desktop computer. Mobile devices are the future tools of communication, with instant access on-the-go being the new standard. But, what happens when the only way you can access the Web is through the software on your existing desktop? Most blind people are in this situation, relying on screen reading software to interpret the online content and then read it aloud.

No more.

A University of Washington professor and doctoral student have devised a fabulous new program that offers the blind computing mobility. The key to the program it that the screen reading program itself is Web-based. That means the blind can access it from any computer, anytime, anywhere.

"This is for situations where someone who's blind can't use their own computer but still wants access to the Internet. At a museum, at a library, at a public kiosk, at a friend's house, at the airport," said Richard Ladner, a UW professor of computer science and engineering.

The program is free and is being hosted on a server at the University of Washington. Though currently only available to read online content in English, the Chinese have expressed interest in developing a version for their use.

This is terrific news. The blind can now also leave their pad and pencil behind, and become full participants in the mobility movement.

To read more about the software, see this from ScienceDaily. To access the software, and read a full discussion of its development, see this from WebInSight.


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