Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Braille Converter Bridges The Information Gap

Date:
May 12, 2008
Source:
ICT Results
Summary:
A free, e-mail-based service that translates text into Braille and audio recordings is helping to bridge the information gap for blind and visually impaired people, giving them quick and easy access to books, news articles and web pages. Developed by European researchers, the RoboBraille service offers a unique solution to the problem of converting text into Braille and audio without the need for users to operate complicated software.

A free, e-mail-based service that translates text into Braille and audio recordings is helping to bridge the information gap for blind and visually impaired people, giving them quick and easy access to books, news articles and web pages.

Developed by European researchers, the RoboBraille service offers a unique solution to the problem of converting text into Braille and audio without the need for users to operate complicated software.

“We started working in this field 20 years ago, developing software to translate text into Braille, but we discovered that users found the programs difficult to use – we therefore searched for a simpler solution,” explains project coordinator Lars Ballieu Christensen, who also works for Synscenter Refsnaes, a Danish centre for visually impaired children.

The result of the EU-funded project was RoboBraille, a service that requires no more skill with a computer than the ability to send an e-mail.

Users simply attach a text they want to translate in one of several recognised formats, from plain text and Word documents to HTML and XML. They then e-mail the text to the service’s server. Software agents then automatically begin the process of translating the text into Braille or converting it into an audio recording through a text-to-speech engine.

“The type of output and the language depends on the e-mail address the user sends the text to,” Christensen says. “A document sent to .org would be converted into spoken British English while a text sent to .org would be translated from Portuguese into six-dot Braille.”

The user then receives the translation back by e-mail, which can be read on a Braille printer or on a tactile display, a device connected to the computer with a series of pins that are raised or lowered to represent Braille characters.

RoboBraille can currently translate text written in English, Danish, Italian, Greek and Portuguese into Braille and speech. The service can also handle text-to-speech conversions in French and Lithuanian.

Christensen notes that the RoboBraille partners are constantly working on adding new languages to the service and plan to start providing Braille and audio translations for Russian, Spanish, German and Arabic. They are also working on making the service compatible with PDF documents and text scanned from images.

Up to 14,000 translations a day

At present, the service translates an average of 500 documents a day, although it could handle as many as 14,000. RoboBraille can return a simple text in Braille in under a minute while taking as long as 10 hours to provide an audio recording of a book.

As of January, the RoboBraille system had carried out 250,000 translations since it first went online.

The team have won widespread recognition for their work, receiving the 2007 Social Contribution Award from the British Computer Society in December while in April they were awarded the 2008 award for technological innovation from Milan-based Well-Tech.

“We initially started offering the service only in Denmark but to make it viable commercially we needed to broaden our horizons. Hence the eTen project which allowed us to involve other organisations across Europe in developing and expanding the service, not only geographically but also in terms of users,” Christensen says.

In addition to the blind and visually impaired, the service can also help dyslexics, people with reading difficulties and the illiterate. The project partners plan to continue to offer the service for free to such users and other individuals, while in parallel developing commercial services for companies and public institutions.

“Pharmaceutical companies in Europe will soon be required to ensure all medicine packaging is labelled in Braille and we are currently working with three big firms to provide that service,” Christensen explains. “Banks and insurance companies are also interested in using it to provide statements in Braille as too is the Danish tax office. In Italy there is interest in using it in the tourism sector.”

The RoboBraille team, which recently received an €1.1 million grant over four years from the Danish government, expect the service to be profitable within four or five years.

And although they are not actively seeking investors, they are interested in partnerships with organisations interested in collaborating on specific social projects.

RoboBraille was funded under the EU's eTEN programme for market validation and implementation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by ICT Results. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

ICT Results. "Braille Converter Bridges The Information Gap." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 May 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080508174310.htm>.
ICT Results. (2008, May 12). Braille Converter Bridges The Information Gap. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080508174310.htm
ICT Results. "Braille Converter Bridges The Information Gap." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080508174310.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Computers & Math News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Heartbleed Hack Leads To Arrest

Heartbleed Hack Leads To Arrest

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A 19-year-old computer science student has been arrested in relation to a data breach of 900 social insurance numbers from Canada's revenue agency. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Apple Rumored To Introduce Song ID Service In Next iOS Build

Apple Rumored To Introduce Song ID Service In Next iOS Build

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) Sources close to Apple told Bloomberg the company plans to introduce an integrated song identification service during the launch of its next iOS. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Honda's New ASIMO Robot, More Human-Like Than Ever

Honda's New ASIMO Robot, More Human-Like Than Ever

AFP (Apr. 17, 2014) It walks and runs, even up and down stairs. It can open a bottle and serve a drink, and politely tries to shake hands with a stranger. Meet the latest ASIMO, Honda's humanoid robot. Duration: 00:54 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Yahoo's Ousted COO Gets $58M Severance Package

Yahoo's Ousted COO Gets $58M Severance Package

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) According to SEC filings, Yahoo gave ousted COO Henrique de Castro a $58 million severance package. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins