[Blindmath] [Blind math] A query about accessibility through a screen reader of mathematical content

Paul Chapin pdchapin at amherst.edu
Thu Apr 14 17:13:41 UTC 2016


I’ve actually printed 3D molecular models and there were a couple of problems. First, the model didn’t actually look like much. This may be related to how the model was designed and the small size but one person who looked one said it looked like “alien scat”. There just wasn’t much detail to work with. The other problem is that it involved printing a lot of scaffolding to hold everything is position during the printing. This is pretty common in a lot of print jobs where you have overhangs and arches. You then remove the support material when you’re done. The problem was that the model was so complex and corresponded so poorly to anything you could recognize that it was often hard to tell what was support and what was model. I know that I occasionally removed part of the model by mistake and there were support structures that either weren't reachable or which I didn’t recognize as such. Some printers handle this later problem by using a different, water-soluble material for the support. Once printed just wash away the supports.

Paul Chapin
Academic Technology Specialist
Amherst College
X2144

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From: Blindmath <blindmath-bounces at nfbnet.org<mailto:blindmath-bounces at nfbnet.org>> on behalf of Anna via Blindmath <blindmath at nfbnet.org<mailto:blindmath at nfbnet.org>>
Reply-To: Blind Math list for those interested in mathematics <blindmath at nfbnet.org<mailto:blindmath at nfbnet.org>>
Date: Thursday, April 14, 2016 at 12:54 PM
To: Blind Math list for those interested in mathematics <blindmath at nfbnet.org<mailto:blindmath at nfbnet.org>>
Cc: "annajee82 at gmail.com<mailto:annajee82 at gmail.com>" <annajee82 at gmail.com<mailto:annajee82 at gmail.com>>
Subject: Re: [Blindmath] [Blind math] A query about accessibility through a screen reader of mathematical content

Zach, and others.
I would highly recommend seeing what is already available.  Also. As far as molecules for bio chem, what is it that you feel you need to print in 3D.  While 3D models are always preferrable, they are often not as useful as one might think or if they are someone probably already has one that you could use.
Just a thought...

Anna E Givens


On Apr 14, 2016, at 10:33 AM, Paul Chapin via Blindmath <blindmath at nfbnet.org<mailto:blindmath at nfbnet.org>> wrote:
There are a variety of different printable file types out there with stl probably being the most common and most acceptable by printers. Ultimately it will depend on what the printer will accept. There are ways of converting model files from one type to another buy I don’t have any experience with them.
As someone else pointed out, size is likely to be an issue. Most of the inexpensive personal 3D printers have relatively small print areas. Ours is 5 by 5 by 5 making it one of the smallest but 10 x 10 x10 would be considered very large for this class of printer. Since the cost of the printer is tied in large part to the print size larger printer are not that common in educational institutions.
You should also be aware that print times can be considerable. We experimented with generating objects for our blind students to use but the time involved in creating the model files, printing the objects, and the limited usefulness of such small objects caused us to give up the effort.
Paul Chapin
Academic Technology Specialist
Amherst College
X2144
Amherst College IT staff will never ask for your password, including by email. Any email asking for any password or username is almost certainly bogus. Never click on a link in an email to a site that requires a login as the link may be bogus. Type in the address yourself. Please keep your passwords private to protect yourself and the security of our network.
From: Blindmath <blindmath-bounces at nfbnet.org<mailto:blindmath-bounces at nfbnet.org><mailto:blindmath-bounces at nfbnet.org>> on behalf of Zach via Blindmath <blindmath at nfbnet.org<mailto:blindmath at nfbnet.org><mailto:blindmath at nfbnet.org>>
Reply-To: Blind Math list for those interested in mathematics <blindmath at nfbnet.org<mailto:blindmath at nfbnet.org><mailto:blindmath at nfbnet.org>>
Date: Thursday, April 14, 2016 at 9:46 AM
To: 'Blind Math list for those interested in mathematics' <blindmath at nfbnet.org<mailto:blindmath at nfbnet.org><mailto:blindmath at nfbnet.org>>
Cc: Zach <zm290 at msstate.edu<mailto:zm290 at msstate.edu><mailto:zm290 at msstate.edu>>
Subject: Re: [Blindmath] [Blind math] A query about accessibility through a screen reader of mathematical content
To take the conversation just a little further off-topic, concerning the
production of 3-D models via 3-D printers, is it necessary for someone to
create each file, or is it like Microsoft Word files where if it's written
on one computer and transferred to another, both can print identical
documents? I'm taking biochemistry in the fall, and wondered if it would be
possible to get some key molecules printed in house through my university. I
have been made to understand that the personnel needed to transcribe the 2-D
representations to 3-D files are not in sufficient supply, so I wondered if
I could hunt up existing 3-D files and have them printed here.
Thoughts are appreciated.
Kind regards,
Zachary Mason
M.S. Student
Animal and Dairy Sciences
Mississippi State University
-----Original Message-----
From: Blindmath [mailto:blindmath-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of Anna via
Blindmath
Sent: Wednesday, April 13, 2016 4:33 PM
To: Blind Math list for those interested in mathematics
<blindmath at nfbnet.org<mailto:blindmath at nfbnet.org><mailto:blindmath at nfbnet.org>>
Cc: annajee82 at gmail.com<mailto:annajee82 at gmail.com><mailto:annajee82 at gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [Blindmath] A query about accessibility through a screen reader
of mathematical content
I think I am missing what the original question to this thread was.  But
generally it hard for people to interpret 2.5 D images, such as the tactile
images some people spoke of.  If an uneducated sighted person makes it it
will likely be harder to interpret.  2.5 D graphics have to be simple.  The
best way to interpret them is to have someone describe to you what you are
feeling.  With a decent image, when a person is told what it is they are
feeling it is much easier to figure out.  3D graphics are not that hard to
get.
Again, I'm not sure what the original question here was, but if you are
concerned with graphics there are many options.
Anna E Givens
On Apr 13, 2016, at 1:49 PM, Zach via Blindmath <blindmath at nfbnet.org<mailto:blindmath at nfbnet.org><mailto:blindmath at nfbnet.org>>
wrote:
Hi Sabra,
I'm an animal science masters student at Mississippi State University.
If I can help you, or anyone on this list for that matter get access
to equasions for animal nutrition please let me know.
Regards,
Zac
Zachary Mason
M.S. Student
Animal and Dairy Sciences
Mississippi State University
-----Original Message-----
From: Blindmath [mailto:blindmath-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of
Sabra Ewing via Blindmath
Sent: Monday, April 11, 2016 10:10 PM
To: Saaqib Mahmuud <saaqib1978 at yahoo.co.in<mailto:saaqib1978 at yahoo.co.in><mailto:saaqib1978 at yahoo.co.in>>; Blind Math list for those
interested in mathematics <blindmath at nfbnet.org<mailto:blindmath at nfbnet.org><mailto:blindmath at nfbnet.org>>
Cc: Sabra Ewing <sabra1023 at gmail.com<mailto:sabra1023 at gmail.com><mailto:sabra1023 at gmail.com>>
Subject: Re: [Blindmath] A query about accessibility through a screen
reader of mathematical content
I think most blind people just read it before they compiled. After
they compiled, it is for a sighted person so they don't care if they can
read it.
As for a screen reader that would read math the best, I would suggest
NVDA.
It is free. Also, there is the Pearson equation editor, which is
designed for braille users. It is much more natural to use and you
don't have to deal with constant errors from trying to compile, but
fullscreen reduce port isn't here for that yet. I believe that braille
support is the most important, especially for higher-level math, so I
am glad they started with that. If you are fine with reading in
braille and using a screen reader doesn't matter as much, you could
try that. Sighted people like their math so different then the way we
like ours that it is really hard to have something where you can read
and write in the same format. To get in the way sighted people like
it, the program has to convert it to a different format or you have to do
that by c!
ompiling something. If you just want to read equations for your own
use, you can just write them The normal way that they always are.
Well, I suppose for us it is the normal way and for sighted people is the
abnormal way.
Computers like our way better anyways, so it really makes more sense
just to leave them if you are writing them for yourself. Maybe there
is a way for a program to convert what you wrote into an object and
then put alternative text in the object so that you can read what you
have written and sighted people think it is the way they like it, But
now, we have just reached the stage where you no longer have to write
in computer braille. You can do your math in the way that you learned
to read it, andyou can make it look good for sighted colleagues and
professors, but yet at the stage where it translates back and forth so
seamlessly that you feel like you can read it all the time and sighted
people feel like it looks good all the time. Now you can at least prod!
uce correctly formatted equations without having to know a programming
language though. I don't know what has happened because we haven't had
any math or science technology apart from a tactile drawing board for
blind people for like 50 years and now all the sudden, things are
taking off, so what you want will probably exist in the near future.
So you can wait for that while I wait for more seamless 3-D printing
technology. I had to specifically avoid a biology class that involved
identifying plant cells and other things with a microscope. I had
thought we could simply order some three dimensional models and I can
just use those, but they don't exist and they have so many details
that they are too hard to make by hand. What you want is probably
coming before my pocket sized, Affordable 3-D printer with accessible
image capturing technology though. Then, I could just bring it to
class, take a picture of the plant cell, and a little drawer with the
three-dimensional image inside would pop up in a few seconds later. Sorry,
I'm getting way off top!
ic. That is all I have though. There could be something else I don't
know about.
Sabra Ewing
On Apr 11, 2016, at 9:35 AM, Saaqib Mahmuud via Blindmath
<blindmath at nfbnet.org<mailto:blindmath at nfbnet.org><mailto:blindmath at nfbnet.org>> wrote:
Hello to everyone at the BlindMath mailing list.
I have the following query.
These days, I'm using WinEdit 9.1 and MikeTex 2.9.5845 for
typesetting
mathematical documents.
After typing in my content, I press Alt + A to go to the Accessories
menu,
followed by ENTER to activate the Compile menu item. I've just learnt
that the desired keystroke is F9.
The above procedure produces a PDF file with the mathematical content
with
the formatting I'd done using the LATEX commands.
Now my question is, is the mathematical content of this PDF file
going to
be accessible (and, if so, to what extent?) to a blind user through a
screen reading program such as JAWS, NVDA, or WinEyes?
Would this PDF file emboss correctly into braille if I emboss it
directly
using a braille embosser such as the Index Braille's Everest-D V4
braille embosser?
Which screen reader does the best job of making the mathematical
content
thus created accessible to a blind person?
Please be sure to reply to the above questions in a thorough enough
manner
as your input will help make maths accessible for the blind of an
under-developed region!
Regards.
Sincerely,
Saaqib Mahmood,
Lecturer in Mathematics,
Govt. Postgrad. College (GPGC) No. 1, Abbottabad, PAKISTAN Kund
Malyaar, Muhallah Musa Zai, Nawan Shehr, Abbottabad, PAKISTAN
Phone: +92-346-952-7638 (mobile), +92-334-541-7958 (mobile + WhatsApp
+ Viber)
Skype: saaqib.mahmood
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