[Nfbmo] Towson Technology Aims To Help The Blind

Gary Wunder gwunder at earthlink.net
Mon Apr 28 17:59:28 UTC 2014

Is this service still active?

-----Original Message-----
From: Nfbmo [mailto:nfbmo-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of Bryan Schulz
Sent: Monday, April 28, 2014 12:01 PM
To: NFB of Missouri Mailing List
Subject: Re: [Nfbmo] Towson Technology Aims To Help The Blind


This is why I provided instructions how to use firefox and webvisum to get past the captia word verification and it worked 98% of the time.
Bryan Schulz

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Nancy Lynn" <freespirit.stl at att.net>
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Sent: Sunday, April 27, 2014 5:46 PM
Subject: [Nfbmo] Towson Technology Aims To Help The Blind

> This comes by way of The Baltimore Sun.
> By Carrie Wells, The Baltimore Sun
> April 27, 2014
> While blind people can browse the Internet through a variety of means, 
> there is often one thing that stops them cold — a security feature known 
> as a CAPTCHA that's designed to distinguish human users from robots.
> CAPTCHAs, in which a user must identify the letters in a distorted image, 
> are commonly used to block automated bots from grabbing up all the tickets 
> for an event, signing up for thousands of email addresses in a short 
> period of time or unfairly swaying the results of an online poll. They 
> have drawn criticism from advocacy organizations for the blind for being 
> too difficult to use, but last month, Towson University secured a U.S. 
> patent for a new kind of CAPTCHA that's intended to be easier for those 
> with limited or no eyesight.
> With Towson's SoundsRight CAPTCHA, users listen to a series of 10 random 
> sounds and are asked to press the computer's space bar each time they hear 
> a certain noise — a dog barking, a horse neighing — among the other 
> sounds. The developers say it is superior to Google's current audio 
> alternative CAPTCHA, citing studies showing that version's failure rate of 
> 50 percent for blind users.
> "Blind people are capable of doing everything that a visual person can on 
> the Internet," said Jonathan Lazar, a Towson professor who has led a group 
> of graduate and outside researchers on the project. "We just try to come 
> up with some equivalent features that make it easier."
> "Some people are unaware that blind people can use the Internet," Lazar 
> added.
> The SoundsRight CAPTCHA is still in a "beta" version, Lazar said, and the 
> developers are hoping a real-world rollout will help identify any 
> necessary tweaks.
> The Towson researchers worked closely on testing with the National 
> Federation of the Blind, which is headquartered in the Riverside 
> neighborhood of Baltimore. Anne Taylor, the federation's director of 
> access technology, said there are several types of software available for 
> blind users to read the text on a Web page aloud. Taylor, who is blind, 
> said not being able to use visual CAPTCHAs could impede a blind person's 
> ability to enjoy the benefits of the Internet and hurt their ability to 
> hold a job.
> A sighted person could help a blind user with the visual CAPTCHAs, she 
> said, but the blind want to be independent on the Internet. Further, since 
> many CAPTCHAs are on web pages that ask for personal financial 
> information, she has concerns about privacy.
> "The Internet is such an important and integral part of our daily lives 
> now," Taylor said. "Just think of how many hours you spend on the web as a 
> sighted individual. Would you really want to have someone with you all 
> that time?"
> CAPTCHA, which stands for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell 
> Computers and Humans Apart, was introduced as a concept by computer 
> scientist Alan Turing in 1950. The term was coined in 2000 by researchers 
> at Carnegie Mellon University who developed an early Web page test program 
> for Yahoo.
> The CAPTCHAs protect from automated hacking programs that can also leave 
> spam comments on blogs, attack protected passwords and send junk email.
> Tim Brooks, the chief software developer on the SoundsRight project since 
> 2010, said the audio CAPTCHA can be embedded into any Web page and 
> customized by the webmaster. Brooks said its script could be tweaked to be 
> used in any number of different languages or have users identify any 
> number of sounds. An organization for train enthusiasts, he said, could 
> potentially have users identify the sounds of different types of trains.
> The SoundsRight CAPTCHA is just as secure as the traditional visual 
> CAPTCHAs, he said. Sighted users can use the audio CAPTCHA as well, or a 
> Web page could give the option of either a visual CAPTCHA or the 
> SoundsRight CAPTCHA, he said. The only potential downside to the 
> technology is that it takes about 30 to 40 seconds to complete, versus 
> less than 10 seconds for a visual CAPTCHA, Brooks said.
> "A lot of people don't have that kind of patience," he said.
> The Towson CAPTCHA project was the brainchild of then-undergraduate 
> student Jon Holman in 2007 as a class project, Lazar said. In a 2007 focus 
> group, blind users identified visual CAPTCHAs as the biggest impediment to 
> their using the Internet independently. Several other students, faculty 
> members and outside researchers have assisted in developing the technology 
> since the project began.
> "We've always done the evaluation with blind users at every step," Lazar 
> said. "This was research that was done because blind users were telling us 
> this was important."
> The project was partially supported with a $50,000 grant from the Maryland 
> Technology Development Corp., Lazar said. The researchers went through 
> several different prototypes, rejecting those that weren't found to be 
> secure enough.
> The SoundsRight CAPTCHA is in use on the National Federation of the 
> Blind's website, and the organization is working to encourage various 
> groups and businesses to adopt it.
> "We are all one step away from a sudden disability, so why not make the 
> Internet an inclusive place for everybody?" Taylor said.
> cwells at baltsun.com
> twitter.com/cwellssun
> Copyright © 2014,
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