[The vOICe] Some notes on doing mathematics

From: Lloyd G. Rasmussen (lras@loc.gov)
Date: Mon Jul 26 1999 - 07:13:14 PDT

Thought some might be interested in this method of accessing graphical
output. I haven't tried this software lately, but Dr. Meijer is still
developing the Voice sonification program, and would be anxious to have
more testers and feedback.

>Mailing-List: contact seeingwithsound-owner@egroups.com
>X-Mailing-List: seeingwithsound@egroups.com
>X-URL: http://www.egroups.com/list/seeingwithsound/
>Reply-To: seeingwithsound@egroups.com
>Delivered-To: listsaver-egroups-seeingwithsound@eGroups.com
>Date: Sun, 25 Jul 1999 01:21:21 -0700
>From: meijer@natlab.research.philips.com
>To: seeingwithsound@egroups.com
>User-Agent: eGroups-EW/0.76
>X-Mailer: www.eGroups.com Message Poster
>Subject: [The vOICe] Some notes on doing mathematics
>Hi All,
>An example that should be relevant to those involved with higher
>education. Today I used a mathematics package called "Mathematica"
>with The vOICe. Mathematica is an extremely powerful mathematics
>package used at many universities. BTW, if you have no interest
>in access to mathematics or plotting tools, you may want to skip
>this posting.
>First I used Window-Eyes in defining the function plot in plain
>text as Plot[x^3,{x,-2,5}], which just happens to be the special
>syntax that is used within Mathematica to specify a cubic curve
>in an x-range from minus 2 to plus 5. Of course one could also
>have made this plot using the built-in scientific calculator of
>The vOICe, but with Mathematica one can do much more advanced
>mathematics, especially symbolic manipulation, and its graphing
>options are also far more elaborate than offered by The vOICe.
>The point is that one should have full access to the most advanced
>tools as used by the sighted, because market pressure will always
>make these tools more powerful than any tool that is developed
>for the blind. So the trick will be to ensure that we can access
>any tools that were *not* developed with accessibility in mind!
>This is where I think a combination of a good screen reader and
>The vOICe can get us a long way.
>Pressing Shift Enter in Mathematica with the above-mentioned
>formula then gives a graph on the screen that a screen reader
>cannot make sense of. However, using The vOICe and switching to
>screen sonification F9 and negative video F5 to hear dark lines
>on a bright window background, I could scan the mouse across
>the screen until I found and heard the graph, involving the
>rising cubic function, the horizontal x-axis as a constant tone
>and the vertical y-axis as a brief tone burst. The digits along
>the axes were also audible, although way too small to be
>interpreted. However, after switching to a higher magnification
>by pressing Control F4 for eightfold zoom, I could now easily
>hear the minus signs in front of the digits near the axes in
>the lower left of the graph, thus clearly indicating negative
>numbers where I expected them.
>This kind of procedure should work with any kind of mathematics
>or plotting package, including, say, Matlab or Maple. These no
>longer need to have special provisions for accessibility, except
>perhaps keyboard alternatives for using the mouse, and these
>packages are in fact de facto world standards. The above procedure
>should also have worked fine with Jaws instead of Window-Eyes,
>but my Jaws demo has expired so I'll stick with Window-Eyes for
>now. Control F2 was used to mute The vOICe and allow Window-Eyes
>to speak again, which is the same as one does in using Jaws, and
>Alt Tab and Shift Alt Tab were used to switch among applications.
>Note that this application did not involve the camera at all,
>but involved mostly the same steps as used in hearing a graph
>printed in a book. With a camera one would move the camera
>instead of the mouse to locate and hear a printed graph, but
>otherwise the methods of using inverse video and zoom are the
>same. Universal accessibility in a universal way is what we are
>after. General approaches, such as offered by The vOICe, are
>admittedly often less easy to use and understand than dedicated
>ones, but the advantage remains that one does not depend on
>specific accessibility adaptations from software vendors.
>By the way, one problem that I encountered with the old version
>of Mathematica that I used was that there appeared to be
>insufficient keyboard control to select and delete individual math
>"cells", one had to use a mouse for that. However, a workaround
>was to simply use the select-all option in Mathematica (Shift Alt A),
>delete all and then paste a new problem from notepad. Not elegant,
>but this worked. Perhaps keyboard control has improved with newer
>versions of Mathematica.
>Best wishes,
>Peter Meijer
>Soundscapes from The vOICe - Seeing with your Ears!
>Was the salesman clueless?
>Productopia has the answers.
>eGroups.com home: http://www.egroups.com/group/seeingwithsound
>http://www.egroups.com - Simplifying group communications
Lloyd Rasmussen, Senior Staff Engineer
National Library Service f/t Blind and Physically Handicapped
Library of Congress (202) 707-0535 <lras@loc.gov>
HOME: <lras@sprynet.com> <http://lras.home.sprynet.com

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Sat Mar 02 2002 - 01:40:41 PST