2002 Conference Proceedings

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John A. Gardner
Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR


This lab session will provide an overview of the capabilities of the Tiger Tactile Graphic Embosser and the WinTriangle self-voicing scientific word processor. Together they break the barrier to communication of graphical and scientific information between blind people and sighted scientists/teachers.


The Tiger Tactile Graphics Embosser [1] permits sighted people to emboss documents containing text, scientific notation, and graphical information directly from standard Windows applications. Files created for Tiger require only computer literacy and use of the Tiger screen fonts at specific point sizes. Graphical information in the form of line, block and textured diagrams, can be created in standard applications and embossed on Tiger just as if one were printing to a standard Windows printer. Text is automatically converted to DotsPlus braille[2, 3, 4].

The tutorial will briefly cover use of drawing tools in MS Word, use of the Letter Art[5] graphic authoring application, creation of math equations with the MathType[6] math editor, and creating spread sheets, bar, column, and line charts with MS Excel. The ViewPlus Translator will also be demonstrated. This translator, which uses a Duxbury[7] braille translator engine, permits transcribers easily to produce standard braille instead of DotsPlus braille.

The graphics and DotsPlus math authoring applications are not accessible to blind people. However files created with these applications can be printed on Tiger by blind people. Blind people can create charts with Excel and tactile xy graphs using the AGC application. In addition, blind participants who are curious about DotsPlus braille will have the opportunity to learn it.

WinTriangle[8] is a self-voicing scientific word processor currently being beta tested and used by several blind university students studying math, science, and engineering. It saves information in RTF format, so files for WinTriangle can be read or created by sighted people in standard word processors. A demonstration of reading, writing, and manipulating scientific equations in WinTriangle will be given.


Research on DotsPlus, Tiger, and WinTriangle has been supported in part by the National Science Foundation.

[1] Tiger is manufactured by ViewPlus Technologies, Inc, http://www.ViewPlusTech.com

[2] DotsPlus braille is a tactile font and is essentially an extension of noncontracted (grade 1) braille to include graphic representation of most screen characters that are not letters or numbers.

[3] John A. Gardner, "The DotsPlus Tactile Font Set", Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness, December, 1998, pp. 836-840

[4] John A. Gardner, "Future Braille Codes and Fonts", in "Braille into the Next Millenium", ISBN 0-8444-1021-7, edited by Judith M. Dixon, published by the National Libraries for Blind and Physically Handicapped Individuals in North America, Washington, DC 2000, pp 514-531

[5] Letter Art is a product of Symbol Graphics, Inc. and has a direct Tiger printer driver. It has capabilities that no other Windows application currently can match. http://www.symbolgraphics.com

[6] MathType is an equation editor designed for use in Windows applications such as MS Word and Corel WordPerfect, a product of Design Science, Inc. http://www.dessci.com

[7] Duxbury Systems, Inc. is the world's leading manufacturer of braille translation software, http://www.duxburysystems.com

[8] http://dots.physics.orst.edu/wintriangle.html

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