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Helping the Blind and Deaf Feel at Home in a Wired World

<span style="color: #666666">Photo: Mary Levin</span>

Photo: Mary Levin

Columns, the magazine of the University of Washington Alumni Association, reports on the long and fruitful work that Boeing Professor in Computer Science and Engineering Richard Ladner has done making technology and opportunity more available to blind and deaf people.

Dr. Ladner had two deaf parents, which helped him understand the challenges faced by those with sensory disabilities and motivated him to work to help lower barriers

A notable project to come out of Ladner’s advocacy work is WebAnywhere (previous CSE News reporting here), which allows blind users to have web pages read to them using a standard PC, eliminating the requirement for an expensive “screen reader” program. This project is developed by CSE PhD student Jeffrey Bigham. Another is MobileASL (previous CSE News reporting here), a collaboration with Electrical Engineering professor Eve Riskin, which allows deaf users to have American Sign Language conversations using unmodified cellphones. Another: the cross-disciplinary Tactile Graphics project, which has developed software to speedily create tactile versions of visual graphics, which are accessible to unsighted users.

Read the full article here.

March 4, 2009