New gadget helps the vision-impaired to read graphs

People who are blind can now read more than just words, such as graphs and graphics, following the development of an affordable digital reading system by Curtin University researchers.

Opening up new career paths and educational opportunities for people with vision impairment, the system combines a number of pattern recognition technologies into a single platform and, for the first time, allows mathematics and graphical material to be extracted and described without sighted intervention.

Senior Lecturer Dr Iain Murray and PhD student Azadeh Nazemi of Curtin’s Department of Electrical and Computing Engineering developed the device to handle the extraordinary number of complex issues faced by the vision impaired when needing to read graphics, graphs, bills, bank statements and more.
“Many of us take for granted the number of graphics and statistics we see in our daily lives, especially at work. We love to have graphics and diagrams to convey information, for example, look at how many statistics and graphs are used in the sports section of the newspaper,” Dr Murray said.
“People who are blind are often blocked from certain career paths and educational opportunities where graphs or graphics play a strong role. We hope this device will open up new opportunities for people with  – it’s a matter of providing more independence, and not having to rely on sighted assistance to be able to read graphical and mathematical material.”….
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source: Phys Org