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Preview: Fred's Head from APH

Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog



Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answ



Updated: 2016-12-03T13:20:26.013-05:00

 



iDentifi: Object Recognition for Visually Impaired

2016-12-02T13:40:47.720-05:00

Apps used to recognize objects and/or read text for people who are blind and visually impaired have increased in number. We have discussed TapTapSee recently, an others exist as well. This post details iDentifi, a new free app that attempts to describe objects and read text for people who are blind and visually impaired. What is iDentifi? Anmol Tuckrel, a high school student from Toronto, Canada, began work on the app about a year ago. According to a TechCrunch article, Tuckrel was fascinated by the possibilities of machine learning and computer vision. The app uses Google Vision, CloudSight and Google Translate, all trusted resources that can distinguish objects easily. These facts indicate that iDentifi uses artificial intelligence to identify objects whereas apps like TapTapSee use crowdsourcing. Using the App Before attempting to use the app, please note that you must be connected to the internet to use it. The app’s layout is quite easy to comprehend. Its initial screen contains four buttons, one in each corner of the screen--“Settings” in the top left, “Instructions” in the top right, “Select photo” in the bottom left and “Take photo” in the bottom right. Of course, if you flick left and right, you will locate the same buttons in the same order. Knowing their location, however, allows you to find the button you want without extra flicks or swipes. Each button and the area surrounding it is brightly colored with a different color included for each button or area of the screen. As a result, people with low vision can distinguish the buttons easily, and individuals who use both VoiceOver and their remaining vision benefit since the app’s functionality is excellent in both cases. Settings If you press the “Settings” button, you first choose the language for all interactions with the app from the list of over 25 languages. Next is the mode button where you choose from “Images low accuracy”, “Images high accuracy”, or text. The low accuracy mode provides a general description of the picture you take and returns the quickest response. The high accuracy mode gives you a more detailed description of the image and requires more time for receiving a response. In text mode, the app tries to read the text from the image you’ve taken. The final setting is speaking rate—how fast you want the app to speak to you when it reads its results; the settings are very slow, slow, normal, fast, and very fast. Instructions The instructions describe some of the app’s functionality and tell you the location of important buttons on the app. The instructions do not stay on the screen, but if you need to hear them again, double tap the instructions button a second time. Select Photo Selecting a photo sends that photo to the app; iDentifi then tries to determine what is in the photo. You must allow iDentifi to access your photos and also the camera. Once you hit the select photo button, you see the standard camera interface that you would use to send a photo to Facebook, include one in a message, etc. Take Photo When you double tap this button, you see a screen that mimics the standard iPhone camera screen with buttons for flash, viewfinder, camera mode, camera chooser, take picture, and cancel. If you are satisfied with the camera settings, double tap the “Take picture” button, located just above the iPhone’s home button. You will hear a sound as the phone takes the picture. You then can select “Retake” or “Use photo”, found on the bottom left and bottom right of the screen respectively. If you have usable vision and believe that your picture is not satisfactory or if you just want to use a different picture, select the retake button and start the process over. If you tap on use photo, you hear the app say, “Loading”. At this point, the picture runs through the app for identification purposes. You can retake a picture as many times as you like, but you must hit the use photo button for the app to begin the identification process. All photos you take using[...]



Throwback Thursday Object: Tactile Picture of a Turkey

2016-12-01T15:18:08.109-05:00



To celebrate Thanksgiving and the subsequent holidays, this week, our throwback object comes from our excellent collection of nineteenth century tactile prints by Martin Kunz (1847-1923).  Kunz was a pioneer creator of mass-produced tactile graphics, operating out of the print shop at the Blind Institute in Illzach, Germany.  He also published influential tactile science illustrations and maps that were used in schools for the blind across Europe and the United States.  His pictures were embossed in wooden molds and—as this one is--reinforced with varnish and plaster.  The second picture shows the Illzach printing operation with the heavy iron press and molds stored on racks.   Our glorious turkey— meleagris gallopavo—is joined on the print by fellow ground birds grouse, partridge, and guinea hen.   There are print captions in French, Italian, German, and English.  The braille captions are in German Braille.
  
Micheal A. Hudson
Museum Director
American Printing House for the Blind




Quick Tip: Board Game Gift Ideas!

2016-11-30T11:36:55.293-05:00

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Quick Tip: Holiday Gift Recommendations for Professionals. Find the perfect Holiday gift at APH, for professionals and students in your life!

2016-11-30T11:22:22.406-05:00

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Solving Those Frustrating CAPTCHAs

2016-11-18T09:37:13.085-05:00

  The Problem Creating an account on many websites, something that should be simple for anyone to do, often is burdensome for someone with blindness and visual impairment because the final step often includes the solving of a CAPTCHA. Having sighted assistance may not be a viable option, and even when it is, someone who is blind should be able to complete this task without it. In this post, we will define the term “CAPTCHA”, describe why one is used, and offer some solutions that individuals who are blind and visually impaired may use to solve them independently. What is a CAPTCHA? If you’ve spent any time online, you’ve encountered a CAPTCHA. The official CAPTCHA Site explains the tool. It is used to tell humans and bots apart. A CAPTCHA is a program that generates a test which humans can pass and current computer programs cannot. The term CAPTCHA stands for Completely Automated Public Touring Test to Tell Computers and Humans Apart. It was coined in 2000 by four individuals from Carnegie Mellon University. The reason for implementing a CAPTCHA makes sense; no one wants spam, viruses or worms in their inboxes or on their sites. No one who runs a blog wants to spend time filtering through spam comments. Having demonstrated the usefulness of a CAPTCHA, we are left still with the problem that the CAPTCHA has brought with it, namely that most CAPTCHAs are inaccessible, and some of those that are accessible are not usable because their speech is incomprehensible or their images are so unrecognizable that someone with blindness or a visual impairment cannot solve them. Available Solutions Accessible CAPTCHAs As noted above, there are some fully accessible CAPTCHAs. A site like Text CAPTCHA offers simple text CAPTCHAs for people who run websites or blogs to use on them. These CAPTCHAs consist of a question posed to you such as a simple math problem, for example. According to the official CAPTCHA site mentioned previously, there is a greater likelihood of bots finding the answer to such a simple CAPTCHA, especially if it is used on several sites. This option, while it provides an accessible CAPTCHA, seems not to be used very often and may not be as secure as some other, less accessible, options. reCAPTCHA The reCAPTCHA site from Google claims to offer CAPTCHAs that are easy for people to solve and hard for bots to decode. Here is where the problems with reCAPTCHA begin. Inconsistent reCAPTCHAs reCAPTCHA, as advertised, offers an accessible CAPTCHA which consists of spoken numbers. The demo CAPTCHA on the site is relatively easy to use. If every CAPTCHA were like this one, the problem for people who are blind and visually impaired would be greatly minimized. Allow me to include a couple of personal experiences to demonstrate the problem with reCAPTCHA. A site I visited recently had a reCAPTCHA heading on it. You checked a box that said, “I’m not a robot.” After a delay of nearly a minute, a CAPTCHA appeared along with an option for an audio CAPTCHA. Having selected the audio CAPTCHA, rather than letters or numbers, I received a seemingly continuous series of difficult questions. For instance, I was asked to select from the list all of the “Belgian ails.” I had to check all the correct answers using check boxes that corresponded with each answer. Later I was told to select the “Creepiest movies.” The questions never got easier. To make matters worse, some of the labels corresponding to the check boxes read inconsistently with my screen reader. Needless to say, I was unable to complete the task I sought to complete. reCAPTCHA claims to be simple to use; however, in this particular case, it was anything but easy. In another instance on another site with a reCAPTCHA, I received an audio message that said something about the computer transmitting signals of some sort. I was told to try again later. Perhaps the system thought my computer was a bot? Regardless of th[...]