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Newport Class Makes Astronomy Accessible to Visually Impaired


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A visually impaired student uses Afterglow Access software, which interprets a photograph through sound.

A class at St. James Episcopal Church in Newport Beach, CA, is teaching teens how to capture images of asteroids for the visually impaired.

Credit: Los Angeles Times

In a recent class at St. James Episcopal Church in Newport Beach, CA, teens directed telescopes in Chile to capture images of asteroids using Quorum, a programming language designed for the visually impaired.

The images the telescopes at the Chilean observatory capture are run through Afterglow Access software, which converts the data points into sounds.

The program accepts images as inputs and produces musical notes to represent the information for the visually impaired. The program can also create plastic tiles with images of heavenly bodies in relief, made with a three-dimensional (3D) printer, allowing users to "feel" spatial imagery.

Astronomers, computer scientists, software engineers, high school students, and teachers are piloting Quorum and Afterglow Access to make typically visual astronomy applications accessible to the visually impaired through a nationwide project called Innovators Developing Accessible Tools for Astronomy (IDATA).

From Los Angeles Times
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Abstracts Copyright © 2019 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


 

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