While technologies such as screen-readers and refreshable Braille displays exist to allow individuals who are blind access to textual information, there is still a lack of devices that can automatically convey pictorial content to an individual who is blind. A rough estimate of computer science course curriculum at ASU indicates that between 50% and 65% of the material is presented diagrammatically making this information inaccessible to students who are blind or visually impaired.
The goal the Tactics project is to make printed images more accessible to individuals who are blind. The Tactics system is a valuable tool for students and professionals who are blind because it provides them with the means for independently converting images they find in PowerPoint presentations or on the web into an easy to use tactile Braille image they can touch. What makes this project different from other research is the accessibility of the software. From the installer program to the printing process, we have developed the Tactics system to be fully compatible with existing screen reader software and tactile printers. The Tactics system automatically converts a user-identified image into a format suitable for embossing by adjusting the image to an appropriate resolution and emphasizing the shape of objects in the targeted image. Next, the converted images are sent to a Braille printer/embosser, which embosses the converted image(s) onto Braille paper, making them immediately accessible to the user.
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