MAVIS and other acronyms

From: Christopher A Weaver (chrweave@NMSU.Edu)
Date: Wed Jul 14 1999 - 09:47:27 PDT

Hi All!

I am Chris Weaver, Program Coordinator for Mathematics Accessible to
Visually Impaired Students (MAVIS). We develop math access software which
allows sighted teachers to generate braille math. We have nearly
completed a Nemeth code generator which accepts print math from a
word processor called Scientific Notebook as input. We have licensed it to
Duxbury Systems and it will be incorporated in near-future generations of

We also develop stuff that would allow a blind student to respond
mathematically in print. This stuff is quite immature at this stage,
however, and we would like any input from blind students who have
taken/have to take math. We want to do it right!

If you are interested in helping us, we need to test two projects in the
near future. The first theoretically allows you to type in a Nemeth code
expression and get a LaTeX script out. LaTeX is the language that
Scientific Notebook, the math word processor reads and writes. Then all
you would need to do to get the expression printed is just print it from
Scientific Notebook. Unfortunately, It can only do one expression at a
time, and you have to get it right the first time or it will spend a lot
of time trying to figure if it can be translated or not. We should be
issuing alpha copies of it soon.

The second project is audio access to mathematics. We are building an
audio browser for computer mathematics.
This will be a huge improvement on
humans trying to read math because a computer's representation of the
math is not ambiguous. That is, there is no reason why a computer should
even be able to read math so that it could be interpreted in more ways
than one. Nevertheless, math read like it is represented in a
computer can be confusing because there is so much important
information coming so fast. We believe that, by using musical notes
or other non-verbal sounds, we can make this information more
navigable. But, we still need your help to guarantee that the amount of
information given in any one time is not so much that it is not useful.
We want audio math to be not only useful for navigation but
also understandable at every point. It is my hope that an audio browser
like this could be implemented as an interface to a math word processor
which outputs pretty print. As we all know, teachers who don't have to
do extra work to read homework are much more generous when grading.
Besides, I don't think an employer that expects a mathematical report
would even glance at anything other than publishable print.
If you would like to help us, we are doing human subjects trials with
audio math currently. We want to find out for definite what our limits
are. We need volunteers to try reading sample audio math to see if the
presentation is any good. If you are interested, please e-mail me. Also,
if you know anybody else who would be interested, please let me know how I
can get in contact with them.

If you want any other information about our project please grill me over
e-mail or visit our website at


Chris Weaver

Program Coordinator
Mathematics Accessible to Visually Impaired Students (MAVIS)
New Mexico State University

We are too good for pop cultural quotations at the end of our messages!

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