Notes by Andrew Downie
I only attended Monday, the middle day of the three-day Conference on Information for People with Print Disabilities. Nevertheless, plenty of food for thought.
Phia Damsma enthusiastically championed sonification as a means of presenting spatial information. This approach has been used by blind astronomers for a while and there is also much potential for those of us interested in locating or avoiding objects here on terra firma.
Peter Cracknell from Quantum Technology presented a session with the sobering title of “The trouble with maths”. Making mathematical information accessible to blind readers and writers is a messy business, not helped by Australia adopting a different Braille maths code to the US. Despite the problems, I came away at least as optimistic about the future as beforehand.
Jonathan Godfrey, Senior Lecturer in Statistics, Massey University, discussed confident and independent graph creation by blind people. I will have to read his paper to understand the technology he proposed. Jonathan, who is blind, strongly advocated the use of markdown and HTML for convenience and accessibility.
Dot Pad is The most exciting electronic Braille device … perhaps ever. It was exhibited by Dot Incorporation from South Korea. It is a Braille display that can present both text and graphics. I drew a rough map of Australia on the attached iPad and the tactile image, complete with my errors, appeared on the Dot Pad. Price is still to be determined, but potential is huge.