Microsoft Low-Cost Assistive Technology
This project is supported by a philanthropic grant under the Microsoft AI for Accessibility programme through to April 2023.
Millions of books have been created in accessible digital formats for persons with blindness and other print disabilities. This includes school text books, university reference works, novels and non-fiction. To help end the book famine these can be shared across international borders under the Marrakesh Treaty. However, these accessible books are typically in file formats that need smart phones, computers, or dedicated hardware players. Playback devices such as these often don’t reach people in low and middle-income countries. Indeed, many rural areas do not have reliable electricity or internet connectivity.
In this project DAISY will be developing an easy-to-use application to convert books so they can be used by the devices typically in the hands of persons with disabilities in low resourced parts of the world. This includes basic phones, affordable braille displays, and even solar-powered audio players.
The solution will be localizable, accessible, open-source, and free for users and their service providers, and will make it much easier for disability organization, libraries, and education providers to create or convert books for the devices typically used in their environments. Through this transformative project many people with print disabilities will be able to study at school, prepare for employment, and access to health and emergency information through affordable reading devices.
- Optimize the DAISY Pipeline for lower-powered computers often found in lower-resourced organizations
- Design an accessible and easy to use interface making it simple to produce and convert accessible publications
- Develop additional conversions for lower powered devices such as audio players and refreshable braille displays
- Create an easy installation experience to empower less technical users
- Extend digital braille support to underserved languages
- Research innovative conversion for book reading in the web browser
DAISY is grateful to the many organisations collaborating with us on this project, evaluating prototype tools, providing sample publications and testing converted titles with their end users.
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