The New York Times focuses the article “An Instant Path to an Online Army” on the work of UW CSE Ph.D. alum Jeff Bigham, now on the faculty at the University of Rochester but about to join the faculty at Carnegie Mellon.
“Computer science researchers have been trying to build systems that summon online workers on demand and produce immediate results. Much initial work has focused on completing tasks for people with disabilities, because that is where the need is great. For example, a blind person may need to identify the contents of a can from a kitchen cupboard right now, not later. A deaf college student may want to follow the give-and-take of a seminar discussion as it unfolds in the classroom, and not wait to read a transcript the next day.
“VizWiz, a free iPhone app developed by Jeffrey P. Bigham of the University of Rochester and colleagues in its Human Computer Interaction program, gives real-time help to blind users.
“VizWiz users take a photograph as best as they can — it may take several tries before the desired object is properly framed — and then record one question about it (‘What is on the label of the can?’) …”