[Art_beyond_sight_educators] Use of the SVGDraw01 drawing program in STEM courses

Lisa Yayla fnugg at online.no
Mon Sep 19 02:22:53 UTC 2011


Just forwarding an email that I wrote to AccessibleImage list when Prof. 
Baldwin wrote about his program. Had questions and etc.



-------- Opprinnelig melding --------

Dear Professor Baldwin,

Congratulations!!! This is wonderful and long waited for. This is indeed 
a breakthrough.

I am looking forward to trying your program and am sure many others will 
be also will eagerly be doing so.

Perhaps you might consider informing the DIAGRAM Project about your tool 
since they are working towards incorporation
of graphic contents for talking books.

I think you are pretty correct in saying that there is no existing 
program free program for the blind and visually impaired
to draw pictures. The Talking Tactile Tablet from Touch Graphics, comes 
close. It is a tool that lets a blind person draw from
a touch sensitive screen, it is not free though.

I'm sure you will be getting a long list of wish items /questions, even 
before your program has been tried (hey it's 3 am here and am going to 
wait a few more hours before trying) and here's a few from me:

1. Is there a library and naming possibility - that is after one has 
drawn a figure one can give it a name and then have the figure
redrawn- say within another?  Can you embed a SVG within a SVG?

2. Is there a grid command? Would be useful for checking if figure is in 
the position wanted and for drawing. One could draw on the grid first 
(using a WikkiStix for example) and then enter the coordinates 
afterwards to draw the SVG. Would be useful for others that wanted to 
draw with this and not just in STEM courses

3. Will this emboss directly to a Juliet, Index Express etc? As a SVG I 
would see that it would to a ViewPlus embosser but what about the 
embossers? Does one create a .Brl file? You write

"As a teacher, it is up to you to connect your blind and visually 
impaired students to those available hardware embossing resources."

I am not sure, but one cannot emboss an SVG out from other embossers 
than the ViewPlus embossers. To emboss drawings from these there are 
other tools, QuickTac (free) and PictureBraille - but one needs to be 
sighted to use them.With Quicktac, if one converted the SVG to a .bmp 
and then saved it in QuickTac's fill file one could open it in QuickTac 
and then emboss it (but need to be sighted).

4. Have you considered XMLForm? Thinking that it would be an easier 

5. You mention a printer as output - are you thinking the use of Swell 
paper as the embossed medium?

6. Have you thought to contact produsers of embossers? They might be 
interested in expanding their product. ViewPlus? Index has a drawing 
program for it's embossers and I think FreedomScientific many years back 
also had a drawing program. Duxburry gives Quicktac for free - so they 
are also interested in tactiles.

Will be sending your message on.

Thank you. Your work is very exciting and it is a breakthrough! For a 
long time I have been looking for a drawing program for the visually 
impaired. I believe for a visually impaired person that being able to 
create drawings oneself is a great help in being able to understand and 
interpret tactile graphics. Doing it oneself gives one a greater 

Thank you.

Best regards,


Den 17.09.2011 23:42, skrev Richard Baldwin:
> This message is intended mainly for teachers of blind or visually 
> impaired students in STEM courses. Of course, this is a public forum 
> and everyone is welcome to read the message and provide comments as 
> appropriate.
> Having been the sighted teacher of a blind student for several years, 
> I firmly believe that making it possible for blind and visually 
> impaired people, and particularly blind and visually impaired students 
> in STEM courses, to communicate using accurate printed and tactile 
> graphics will improve the quality of life and the likelihood of 
> academic success for those students.
> I have written a computer program that makes it possible, for the 
> first time in history, for blind and visually impaired people to 
> create such graphics in an accessible and user-friendly way.
> Version 0.0.8 of my drawing program for blind students is now posted 
> and available for free and immediate download at:
> http://www.austincc.edu/baldwin/SWT-SVG/SVGDraw01.zip
> Three components are necessary to accomplish the goal of widespread 
> graphics communication among blind and visually impaired students and 
> their teachers:
>     * Availability of a robust and universally accepted graphics standard.
>     * Availability of a robust, accessible, and user-friendly drawing
>       program that allows blind people to take advantage of the SVG
>       standard.
>     * Availability of high-quality, economical, and readily available
>       graphics embossing equipment.
>       A robust graphics standard - SVG
> A robust and universally accepted graphics standard is already 
> available in the form of Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG). See Scalable 
> Vector Graphics (SVG) 1.1 (Second Edition) <http://www.w3.org/TR/SVG/>
>       An accessible and user-friendly drawing program - SVGDraw01
> I have written and provided, free of charge, a drawing program that 
> blind and visually impaired people can use to draw pictures. To the 
> best of my knowledge, no other existing program provides that 
> capability. (If such a program exists, it is a well-kept secret.) 
> Thus, for the first time in history, your students can express 
> themselves using graphics.
> While many drawing programs exist, they are written for use by sighted 
> people and not for use by blind people. My program is designed and 
> written specifically for use by blind and visually impaired people.
> Even though my program is still under development, it already provides 
> the capability for STEM students to create graphics that mirror many 
> of the figures and diagrams typically found in STEM textbooks.
>         A graph board on steroids
> As a teacher of blind or visually impaired students, you might think 
> of this program as bringing the old-fashioned graph board into the 
> computer age. Students and others using this program can create both 
> printed and tactile graphics using many of the same thought processes 
> that they would use when constructing a "drawing" on a graph board 
> using pushpins, rubber bands, a protractor, and a measuring stick.
> For example, one student might use this program to create and send an 
> SVG file to a friend with the message "Take a look at the cool floor 
> plan of my new apartment."
> Another student might use this program to create and send an SVG file 
> to a college professor with the message "This is a free body diagram 
> showing the magnitude and directions of forces F21 and F23 caused by 
> the interactions among charges q1, q2, and q3."
>         Getting an immediate visual output
> I will be adding new capabilities over time. However, I probably won't 
> add capabilities that would not be useful to blind and visually 
> impaired users. For example, the program does not, by default, produce 
> an immediate visual output. The primary output is intended to be a 
> printer, a graphics embosser, or both. But, if you are sighted, or if 
> you are blind and using the vOICe sonification software to view the 
> progress of your drawing, you can use a procedure described in the 
> attached file to view your drawing as it progresses.
>       High-quality, economical, and readily-available graphics
>       embossing equipment
> This is the area where we fall short relative to achieving our 
> widespread graphics communications goal. Although high-quality 
> embossing equipment is available in the marketplace, it is not 
> economical (by computer standards) nor is it readily available for the 
> personal use of most blind students.
> I view this as a supply and demand problem. Prior to the release of my 
> program, there were no robust, accessible, and user-friendly tools 
> that made it possible for blind people to create  accurate graphics 
> for use with a high-quality embosser. Thus, the demand for such 
> embossing equipment has been very limited. My hope is that by making 
> it possible for all blind people to create accurate graphics, the 
> demand for such embossing equipment will go up and the costs for the 
> equipment will come down.
> Even today, however, many schools, colleges, and other organizations 
> own high-quality graphics embossing equipment that they can make 
> available to their blind and visually impaired clientele on some 
> basis. In those cases, there is no reason for blind people to hold 
> back from learning to communicate using graphics.
> My drawing program is freely available for you and your students to 
> use. As a teacher, it is up to you to connect your blind and visually 
> impaired students to those available hardware embossing resources.
> The attached HTML file is the User-Instruction file for my drawing 
> program named SVGDraw01.
> Please feel free to forward this message to others who may have an 
> interest in the use of graphics by blind and visually impaired people.
> Richard Baldwin
> Professor of Computer Information Technology
> Austin Community College
> baldwin at austincc.edu <mailto:baldwin at austincc.edu>
> http://www.austincc.edu/baldwin/

More information about the Art_Beyond_Sight_Educators mailing list