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Professor's Work Erases Technological Barriers


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Sangyun Hahn and Richard Ladner

Blind doctoral candidate Sangyun Hahn developed a program with UW professor Richard Ladner that transforms visual images into Braille-like bumps.

Grant M. Haller / Seattle P-I

University of Washington computer scientist Richard Ladner is working with people with disabilities to help them get more out of technology. Ladner has launched a variety of projects to make life easier for those without hearing or sight, including MobileASL, which uses video-compression to enable deaf cell phone users to simultaneously see each other over the phone to communicate; and WebAnywhere, a screen reader program that enables blind people to surf the Web from any computer with the help of a computerized voice that reads text.

Working with blind computer science and engineering doctoral student Sangyun Hahn, Ladner developed the Tactical Graphics project, which created a program that can rapidly transform a visual image into a touch-based image using bumps on paper that the blind can read, similar to programs that convert text into Braille. Hahn says the goal is to offer the Tactical Graphics program to organizations that can further develop it so blind students can easily access visual information in addition to text.

Ladner also has developed AccessMonkey, a Web page translation project, and WebinSitu, a project that collects data on access problems for the blind. Ladner also helps run summer programs to get deaf and blind students interested in science, engineering, and math.

From Seattle Post-Intelligencer
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