UW CSE Ph.D. alum Jeff Bigham (now at Rochester), UW CSE grad student Chandrika Jayant, and their co-authors received the best paper award at this year’s ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology (UIST) for their paper VizWiz: Nearly Real-Time Answers to Visual Questions.
Visual information pervades our environment. Vision is used to decide everything from what we want to eat at a restaurant and which bus route to take to whether our clothes match and how long until the milk expires. Individually, the inability to interpret such visual information is a nuisance for blind people who often have effective, if inefficient, work-arounds to overcome them. Collectively, however, they can make blind people less independent. VizWiz is an iPhone application aimed at enabling blind people to recruit remote sighted workers to help them with visual problems in nearly real-time. Users take a picture with their phone, speak a question, and then receive multiple spoken answers. VizWiz is designed to have low latency and low cost, making it both competitive with expensive automatic solutions and much more versatile.
More information on UIST 2010 may be viewed here.