Automated interpretation and accessible presentation of technical diagrams for blind people
The EU-supported TeDUB (Technical Drawings Understanding for the Blind) project is developing a software system that aims to make technical diagrams accessible to blind and visually impaired people. It consists of two separate modules: one that analyses drawings either semi-automatically or automatically, and one that presents the results of this analysis to blind people and allows them to interact with it. The system is capable of analysing and presenting diagrams from a number of formally defined domains. A diagram enters the system as one of two types: first, diagrams contained in bitmap images, which do not explicitly contain the semantic structure of their content and thus have to be interpreted by the system, and second, diagrams obtained in a semantically enriched format that already yields this structure. The TeDUB system provides blind users with an interface to navigate and annotate these diagrams using a number of input and output devices. Extensive user evaluations have been carried out and an overall positive response from the participants has shown the effectiveness of the approach.