The Note-Taker

The Note-Taker

August, 2011
Contact 
To take notes in class, students with visual impairments must rapidly switch between writing their notes (a near-sight task) and viewing a board at the front of the classroom (a far-sight task). Current assistive technologies provide magnification for near-sight tasks, or for far-sight tasks, but none support rapid switching between the two. Alternatives such as human note-takers and audio/video lecture recorders force dependence on others, and do not facilitate the student’s interaction within the classroom. The Note-Taker Project solves these problems by combining a custom-designed pan/tilt/zoom camera and a Tablet PC that supports both pen and multi-touch input. Users simultaneously view live video and take notes on a split screen interface. The camera may be aimed and zoomed by dragging and tapping on the Tablet PC display surface. Users can also jump back a few seconds with a simple swipe gesture, should the professor get in the way of the blackboard. Notes can be typed and/or handwritten, and video or audio of the lecture can be recorded. Currently Team Note-Taker is engaging several dozen students with low vision in user studies to find address their needs. By making the lecture presentation accessible to students with visual disabilities (in the form of a zoomed video on the Tablet PC screen) the Note-Taker allows students to take their own notes – a process that is well known to benefit retention. The Note-Taker requires no adaptation of lecture material, or reliance on any support personnel. It is portable, it can be carried in a backpack, and it can be set up within one minute.
Funding Sources 
National Science Foundation, Human Centered Computing, Award 0931278