[nobe-l] Introduction and request for guidance

Tony Stockman t.stockman at btinternet.com
Thu Apr 21 12:06:02 UTC 2016


My name is Tony Stockman, I am a blind Senior Lecturer in Computer Science
at the University of London, teaching mainly final year undergraduate and
Masters students. I have occasionally posted to this list before, but it is
worth mentioning my background again as it is relevant to the help I am

I have a new PhD student, who is keen to work on a project that will help
blind and partially sighted teachers and students. The system I would like
him to develop would produce audio versions of graphs and tables, playing
them back so that someone who could not see the screen could get an overview
of the underlying data. There has been work like this before, but the second
part of the project is what makes it unique. This  second phase of the
project would involve turning this into a networked application, so that
blind and sighted people could be looking/listening to the graph on
different devices at the same time, discussing, anotating and possibly also
jointly editing the graph. A couple of years ago we developed a broadly
similar system to enable blind and sighted people to examine, create and
edit diagrams together, which you can see and if you wish download from

Where I need your help is to know from you whether you feel this is a useful
project, any ideas for particular directions it may go, and certainly in a
few months time we would be keen to provide prototypes for people to try
out. A few specific questions I have are as follows:
1) Does this system sound useful to you, or do you think there are much more
relevant problems we might be tackling?
2) If you had such a  system, how might you use it?
3) We could develop it for use on laptops, on mobile devices or possibly
even on both, but, if you had to make a choice, which would you prefer and
which operating system should it run under?

Please, feel free to put forward any suggestions you may have, it matters
enormously to me and my student that we do something relevant and useful.
Also, as I have about 8 final year undergraduate projects and 5 MSc
dissertation projects to run each year, suggestions for smaller technology
projects might be possible to address within one or more of those, so please
feel free to ask.

Very many thanks in advance for any ideas and suggestions you may have.

Kind regards,



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