Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Make it possible for 3rd eye !

Yesterday Ankur invited me to read his blog. A blog on "Blind Programmers and Users". Before reading, I depicted a different meaning of Blind Programmer, i thought its someone who codes blindly :). But its something else. It gives a different domain to think how blind people (can)use computer or rather our application. Can they use it ? Can they interpret it into their 3rd eye ? Can they play with some of the computer apps ?

No idea at all ! I never thought for it before and so i decided to spend some of my time to search what applications are developed for them. Some of the software's even I can think of like creating sound pattern with Morse code.

Searching on google, i came across a very nice and i will say a very simple software " Desktop Icon Reader". What this software do is that it attach a song file to every icon on desktop and even giving you the facility to record that sound file, so that you can give it a logical meaning. Mouse movement just play that sound. Nicely written by a 26 yr guy(better to say a computer scientist :) ).

See the baseline is very clear, computer screen is not going to provide something like "touch and feel". So we have to constrain application in the range of listening and speaking. Something we can simulate on listening like this Icon Reader and some other we can simulate on speaking like text generator via sound.

I was thinking of an application where i can provide them the facility to read a web page. Really no idea how to do but I guess languages like JS gives me the facility to read string over mouse by some API's like onMouseMove or onMouseClick and then if we are able to convert that string into a voice form! I guess it should be better fit in a browser property rather than a 3rd party application because the browser code has much more control on web page content. Also, we have one constraint, we can store a finite set of voice corresponding to every word. So, its the browser responsibility to convert a normal web page into a blind-friendly web page where we have a finite(mean to say less) number of words. Don't know how to handle names and all.

Any suggestions :)


Anonymous said...

Good thoughts Vaibhav !
I am sure people would have thought through this one to facilitate those who are blind. It would require extensive work , maybe like creating a database of words and a software which recognises words and converts them to voice to enable readability.
Good going, some more research will definitely get you there...

@nkur said...

For the speaking webpages, MS had introducts MS Agent speaking characters which could read out text. I remember making a ASP page for our project assignment in which Quiz answers were read out by the characters from the webpage. Try finding that.

So you experimented with that Desktop tool on my Folder only? Have you ever tried using Windows only with keyboard, just think how they use it?

Vaibhav said...

Thanks Mala ! Ya that would be the way what you have suggested.

Ankur, I never used this MS Agent. But what I was thinking is not only something like speaker. A browser will divide the page into some part based on say RSS feed. Clicking on that part of the page will enlarge that page into the whole screen and then according to mouse movement the broswer speaks. Let me check what MS is doing :)
Ya, your folder comes out first for my experiment. Didn't get your last question ? You want to say working on windows only by Keyboard ? Ya thats possible but it also demand for eyes.

@nkur said...

Hi vaibhav,
How would a bling user use a mouse in a straight line? A pause/play on press of spacebar is more comfortable!

The last question was to try using windows only by keyboard and get a feel how these disabled people have to use them.

Vaibhav said...

Hey we discussed this Ankur :)