This is what I call a bright idea. Here is the beginning of an article that I urge you to read entirely (after a free registration to the Nando Times).
Frustrated by the difficulty of incorporating charts into his school reports, Hesham Kamel, a blind engineering student at the University of California at Berkeley, has designed a computer-drawing program that permits the visually impaired to create - and 'see' - illustrations, graphics and other images on the screen.
Kamel, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, has set his sights on refining the prototype, dubbed Integrated Communication 2 Draw (IC2D), into a viable commercial product.
"There's nothing else out there that can help me create and view graphics," said Kamel, 40, who lost his vision 17 years ago through a surgeon's error. "With the IC2D, blind people can use screen readers paired with voice synthesizers to literally hear text on the computer screen."
Taking advantage of the universal familiarity with the layout of a telephone keypad, the program divides the screen into nine squares, each labeled with the corresponding numbers '1' through '9.' Moving from square to square is just like dialing a telephone number. Each time a user enters a square, he or she has the option of subdividing it into another three-by-three grid, zooming in on increasingly finer details in the drawing. The program is capable of repeating the progression 81 times for a total of 729 possible squares.
You'll have to wait for a while before IC2D becomes commercially available.
Source: Lidia Wasowicz, United Press International, June 30, 2002
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