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A Computing Education for the Vision Impaired Iain Murray Curtin University of Technology Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering Rehabilitation.

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Presentation on theme: "A Computing Education for the Vision Impaired Iain Murray Curtin University of Technology Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering Rehabilitation."— Presentation transcript:


2 A Computing Education for the Vision Impaired Iain Murray Curtin University of Technology Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering Rehabilitation Engineering Research Laboratory

3 Introduction  Objectives  Learning environments  What is the Cisco Network Academy Program?

4  Rehabilitation Engineering is the systematic application of engineering sciences to design, develop, adapt, test, evaluate, apply, and distribute technological solutions to problems confronted by individuals with disabilities in functional areas, such as mobility, communications, hearing, vision, and cognition, and in activities associated with employment, independent living, education, and integration into the community. (US Rehabilitation Act of 1973)

5 Objective  Develop systems and methodologies to assist people with sensory disabilities to gain access to education and technology

6 Resources  Rehabilitation Engineering Research Laboratory  Researchers  3 academic staff  1 technical staff  6 Postgraduate students  2 Masters and 4 PhD  Over 30 Honours students (4th & 5th year engineering)  Industry & consumer advisors

7 Changing Learning Environment  Educational content delivery is changing  On-line eLearning  Instructor led  Distance learning  Supplemental material  People with disabilities (particularly vision)  Being left behind  Reliance on visiocentric material  Multimedia  E.g. Click and drag

8 Changing Learning Environment  This requires a change in thinking  Ensure effective content delivery to ALL students irrespective of learning style or physical ability  Cisco Access for the Vision Impaired (CAVI)

9 Cisco Network Academy Program  The Networking Academy program is an e-learning model that delivers Web-based educational content, online testing, student performance tracking, and instructor training and support, as well as hands-on labs. (Cisco,2002)

10 Cisco Network Academy Program (CNAP)  10,312 Academies  162 Countries  494,063 Students  278,005 Graduates  14 vision impaired students  All in Perth

11 Cisco Network Academy Program (CNAP)  Several programs  CCNA, CCNP, FNS, FWN, ITE, UNIX etc  CAVI covers IT Essentials and CCNA only  The CNAP is a comprehensive program designed to teach students computer, Internet & networking technology skills.

12 Why CNAP?  Router/switch configuration is text based  Network topologies are logical not physical  Network administration does not require mobility  Orientation and mobility training is time consuming and expensive  New employment opportunities

13 The Students  Age range from 18 to 55  Range of technical ability/experience  14 Legally blind in total  5 have no useful vision  Light perception or less  3 require screen reader access  Cannot read a monitor  5 can access a computer with screen enhancement  May just require contrast or specific colour schemes  1 deaf/blind  Has limited tunnel vision and profoundly deaf  Communicates through Auslan and whiteboard

14 Cisco Network Academy Program


16 Current Access Methods  For low vision users.  Screen enlargement.  Zoomtext, Magic.  Screen review programs.  Jaws, Slimware, Artic.  Two output methods - speech and Braille displays.  Screen review software must rely on text output.  Tactile Graphics  PIAF  Printed Braille and Audio recordings

17 Access Methods  Other Disabilities  Quadriplegics.  Morse, Eye tracking, scan boards.  Emphasis on keyboard/mouse replacement issues.  Deaf.  Subtitles, visual alerts, transcription of conferences/video.  Many others.

18 CAVI Project Description  Develop a method of course delivery to vision impaired students  Standard Curriculum  Existing lab bundles  CCNA & IT Essentials initially  Long term aim to include other academy programs  Create a “bridge” between the curriculum and assistive technology  Includes instructor training

19 Curriculum Access  Use text documents  Explain diagrams  Stress important but uniquely difficult points  The OSI model  Layer 2 technologies  Tactile objects  Network dominoes  Pipe cleaners  Function Generator

20 CAVI  Describe the difficulties that vision impaired students face  Investigate how students with severe vision impairment can utilize cognitive and perceptual properties of non-visual sensory modalities to learn (as compared to sighted students)  Develop new visualisation techniques  Develop a novel multimodal user interface  Explicitly designed to deliver technology and engineering skills to vision impaired students  Investigate how these new technologies may be incorporated into future systems

21 Haptic Displays

22 Mouse-type Devices

23 Earcons  Earcons were first proposed by Meera Blattner in 1989.  They are abstract, musical tones that can be used in structured combinations to create auditory messages.  "non-verbal audio messages that are used in the computer/user interface to provide information to the user about some computer object, operation or interaction"  They are based on musical sounds.

24 AsTeR  Audio System For Technical Readings  A computing system for rendering technical documents in audio  Developed by T.V. Raman

25 Number Systems & Subnetting

26 The OSI Model

27 Network Dominoes

28 Other Props

29 Braille Display

30 Diagrams Host A sends SYN (seq =x) Host B receives SYN (seq=x) and sends SYN(seq=y, ack=x+1) Host A Receives SYN (seq=y, ack = x+1) and sends ACK (ack = y+1) Host B Receives ACK (ack = y+1)

31 Other CAVI Applications  Speech Friendly Packet Sniffer  Braille Transcription Software  Router Simulator  XML to Descriptive Text

32 Progress  First Class  Mid way through CCNA 2  Improved self confidence  Modifications to the course are being finalised  Second Class  Progressing much more rapidly  Modified curriculum is working

33 Conclusion  Cavi Project is a test bench  Includes most of the devices/techniques currently being researched  Final outcome  Deliver an “Academy in a Box”  For Academies that wish to teach vision impaired students  Two of the first students are now qualified as instructors in the Academy Program

34 Questions?    ams/equity/index.htm ams/equity/index.htm  (John Gill)

35 Some of the Students

36 Current Research Projects  Cisco Access for the Vision Impaired (CAVI)  Curtin University Brailler (CUB)  Wireless Stereo Headset  Parakeet -Apple OS X Accessibility  iView - Classroom Aid for Low Vision Students  Dasher  Auslan to Text  Currency Identifier for the Blind  Braille Scanner  Ultrasonic White Cane/Seeing with Sound  7 Segment reader and colour sensor

37 The Target Demographic  In Western Australia  8,800 legally blind  Nearly 2,400 under 65  The Association for the Blind  75 new clients each month  411 clients per year in technology training  (ABWA annual report 2001)  Extrapolate to the world market  Third world countries have higher rates of vision impairment

38 Disability Discrimination Act  DDA is administered by the Human rights and Equal Opportunities Commission (HREOC).  Accepts that some differential treatment is unavoidable.  Commonwealth Departments and Agencies must develop action plans.  Emerging DDA standards on “Electronic Communication”.

39 Curtin University Brailler (CUB)  Perkins Brailler  Mechanical only  Mountbatten Brailler  Electronic, very old technology

40 Braille Scanner  Aimed at Sighted non-Braille Readers  Converts Braille to Expanded Text in real time

41 A Secure Dual Channel Wireless Headset for Multi-user Environments  Funded by Dept. of Training  Science & Technology Grant  Joint Project  Association for the Blind WA  RAC (WA)

42 Proof of Concept Prototype  Dual channel, two- way, high quality, low power infrared headset prototype which has been field tested by the ABWA and certified.

43 DSP based system Upgradeable, flexible Ultra Low Power Secure comm ’ s Current BOM < $150 … IR TxRx ’ s < $3 Cellular Architecture

44 Current Form Ideal Form

45 The Future  Infrared / 802.1x Hybrid  Keep low power, security, and bandwidth benefits of infrared, but combine with 802.11g to overcome infrared mobility issue.  Commercialisation  Packaging  Alternative markets  Navy

46 Parakeet  The project involves designing, building and testing a screen reader application for Mac OS X operating system.  A screen reader is an application that allows a vision- impaired person to use a graphical user interface by providing audible feedback in the form of speech.  The screen reader interrogates the actions of the user via the Accessibility APIs and produces speech output using the text-to-speech (TTS) APIs.  Both of these APIs are provided by Apple as part of Mac OS X.

47 Dasher  Information-efficient text-entry interface  driven by natural continuous pointing gestures.  operating a computer one-handed  with zero hands (i.e., by head-mouse or by eyetracker).  The eyetracking version of Dasher allows an experienced user to write text as fast as normal handwriting - 25 words per minute; using a mouse, experienced users can write at 39 words per minute.

48 Auslan to Text


50 Currency Identifier  Australian Polymer notes are of a similar size  Hard to distinguish denomination if totally blind  Utilises the unique pattern in the clear window

51 Ultrasonic White Cane  Augments the standard long cane  Warns of  Head height obstructions  Drop off (e.g. Stairs)  Simple user interface

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