[Nfbmo] Fw: new tool for visually impaired

Bryan Schulz b.schulz at sbcglobal.net
Tue Aug 2 16:22:51 UTC 2011


students have it easier now. remember the notes you would get as a carbon 
from another class member?

Bryan Schulz

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "fred olver" <goodfolks at charter.net>
To: "NFB of Missouri Mailing List" <nfbmo at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Tuesday, August 02, 2011 9:58 AM
Subject: Re: [Nfbmo] Fw: new tool for visually impaired

> 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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