[Nfbmo] Fw: new tool for visually impaired

Matthew Sievert msievert at sbcglobal.net
Tue Aug 2 16:03:40 UTC 2011


What an interesting discussion.

1. I agree that tech can be useful to a point when it becomes an obstacle or economically challenging

2. I used a monocular and a laptop to take notes in class. 

3. Batteries and wall outlets are always something to take into consideration. Since lots of folks have classes back-to-back

4. I think Audible.com would have been a great asset when I was going through school. 

5. I know the Kindle is not good for audible navigation, but i also wish I had a kindle in school 

6. There is a point where you can have too many assistive devices and no clear way to evaluate their usefulness. 

7. To bring up a common statement from Bryan Shultz. Tech is expensive and still not obtainable without a good source of income or significant economic assistance. 

We live in an interesting time and it is  neat to observe the changes that are taking place. 

On Aug 2, 2011, at 10:58 AM, "fred olver" <goodfolks at charter.net> wrote:

> Jim, I'm definitely in favor of technology because of it's practical aspects 
> but I have to wonder if the office of student services paid someone to 
> either take down the information that was placed on the chalk boards or 
> asking the instructor to make available to the V.I. students the information 
> covered in each day's lectures wouldn't be more efficient and less expensive 
> than a device such as the one that is outlined here?
> Especially since we have no indication of how large the field of vision is 
> enlarged or what manipulative tasks are involved in moving the device to see 
> a different quadrant of the board in question.
> Also, I'm remembering the days when no type of hand-holding was available 
> for students in college accept those really bad recordings of well-meaning 
> individuals who read us our books on tapes. No choice of which format our 
> books would be in, no choice of whether we would have access to tests or any 
> other materials for that matter in any format other than print, and it was 
> up to us to be the responsible party in getting the materials read by a 
> well-meaning friend or classmate.
> And we did manage without these things to get through college and have 
> successful careers inspite of it all.
> Fred Olver
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "James Moynihan" <jamesmmoynihan at gmail.com>
> To: "NFB of Missouri Mailing List" <nfbmo at nfbnet.org>
> Sent: Tuesday, August 02, 2011 9:29 AM
> Subject: [Nfbmo] Fw: new tool for visually impaired
> Fellow Federationists
> Jim Moynihan
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "Neuman, Dale A." <NeumanD at umkc.edu>
> To: <jamesmmoynihan at gmail.com>
> Sent: Tuesday, August 02, 2011 7:50 AM
> Subject: new tool for visually impaired
> College students with very poor vision have had to struggle to see a
> blackboard and take notes—basic tasks that can hold some back. Now a team of
> four students from Arizona State University has designed a system, called
> Note-Taker, that couples a tablet PC and a video camera, and could be a
> major advance over the small eyeglass-mounted telescopes that many students
> have had to rely on. It recently
> won<http://www.imaginecup.com/CompetitionsContent/2011Winners.aspx> second
> place in Microsoft’s Imagine Cup technology competition.
> There are roughly 75,000 students at colleges and trade schools who are
> visually impaired. The telescopes allow students with low vision to see the
> blackboard, but they can only focus on one section at a time. Then they have
> to take off the telescope, write notes, and then go back to the board and
> try and catch up with the lecture.
> David S. Hayden, who graduated from Arizona State in May, understands these
> challenges—he can only read texts if he gets about two inches away from the
> material. Mr. Hayden, the lead designer of Note-Taker, says he faced a
> “morbid tradeoff” in class. Using the assistive technology that was
> available to him, he could either take notes or listen and absorb the
> information, but never both. After he had to withdraw from three
> senior-level math classes, he says, “I realized the existing technologies
> weren’t going to assist my needs, so I had a project on my hands.”
> The result was Note-Taker, which connects a tablet PC (a laptop with a
> screen you can write on) to a high-resolution video camera. Screen commands
> get the camera to pan and zoom. The video footage, along with audio, can be
> played in real time on the tablet and are also saved for later reference.
> Alongside the video is a space for typed or handwritten notes, which
> students can jot down using a stylus. That should be helpful in math and
> science courses, says Mr. Hayden, where students need to copy down graphs,
> charts, and symbols not readily available on a keyboard.
> Mr. Hayden built a prototype of the device with the help of John A. Black
> Jr., a researcher specializing in computing and human visual perception at
> the university’s Center for Cognitive Ubiquitous Computing. The project was
> then awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation and refined with
> the help of Michael Astrauskas, Shashank Srinivas, and Qian Yan, who are
> Arizona State students.
> “It’s unlike what I’ve seen,” says Clara Van Gerven, an access-technology
> content specialist with the National Federation of the Blind. The
> handwriting feature seems valuable, and she has not seen it in other
> computer-compatible video-recording systems. Note-Taker, she says, “uses
> existing technology to its advantage and then adds the rewind feature and
> the manual note-taking to that. It seems like it would be a useful tool.”
> But no tool can replace institutional support, says Chris S. Danielsen,
> director of public relations for the federation. “The university is always
> going to have to make sure that whatever technology it uses is accessible to
> blind and low-vision students,” he says. (Arizona State U. has gotten in hot
> water in the
> past<http://chronicle.com/article/Blind-Students-Demand-Access/125695/> in
> just this area.)
> The team continues to develop the Note-Taker—a fourth-generation model is
> already in the works—and is looking into ways to get it on the market.
> Though the prototype is prohibitively expensive, the designers hope to bring
> the price tag down to $1,000 per camera unit (the tablet PC would be
> purchased separately), so that it will be affordable to more consumers.
> Their second-place finish a few weeks ago in the Imagine Cup’s
> software-design category may also attract some interest.
> Mr. Hayden is starting graduate school in the fall at the Massachusetts
> Institute of Technology. He’s taking one of the Note-Taker models with him
> to use when classes resume.
> Dale A. Neuman
> Director, Harry S Truman Center for Governmental Affairs
> Special Projects Associate, College of Arts and Sciences
> Professor Emeritus of Political Science
> 816-235-6108 or 816-235-2787
> FAX 816-235-5191
> Neumand at umkc.edu
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