2004 Conference Proceedings

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SIMULTANEOUS BRAILLE, TACTILE GRAPHICS, AND INK WITH TIGER INK ATTACHMENT and Duxbury

Presenter(s)
John A. Gardner,
Christian Herden,
Gaby Herden,
Carl Dreyer,
Galina Bulatova
ViewPlus Technologies, Inc.
Corvallis, OR 97331
Email: John.Gardner@ViewPlus.com 
Email: Christian.Herden@ViewPlus.com 
Email: Gaby.Herden@ViewPlus.com 
Email: Carl.Dreyer@ViewPlus.com 
Email: Galina.Bulatova@ViewPlus.com 

Joe Sullivan
Peter Sullivan
Duxbury Systems, Inc.
Westford, MA 01886-3523
Email: Joe@DuxSys.com 
Email: Peter.Sullivan@DuxSys.com 

Introduction

The new ink attachment for the Tiger Professional Tactile Graphics and Braille Embosser[1] prints ink during the embossing process. This capability can be used to great advantage to create materials that are helpful to people with a number of different print disabilities. Among these are blind braille readers whose embossed materials can include ink print that permits sighted people (e.g. peers, teachers, and parents of blind students) who know no braille to understand the same page as the braille reader. Large embossed standard letters can be over-printed in ink to make labels for elderly people with failing vision. Text and graphics in Windows applications can be embossed and over-printed in ink to assist comprehension by people with low vision or learning disabilities.

A new feature has been added by Duxbury[2] to permit the Duxbury DBT Braille Translator to send separately to Tiger the information to be embossed as braille and the information to be printed in ink. The ink information is derived by referring to the original print copy of a document, when available. This nearly eliminates all errors in the print copy. Consequently the combination of DBT and Tiger Pro with the Ink Attachment permits one to emboss materials with ink translations that are letter perfect.

The Tiger Tactile Graphics and Braille Embosser Ink Attachment

Tiger Tactile Graphics and Braille Embossers are "Windows graphics printers for blind people". The Tiger Pro, Max, Cub, and Cub, Jr. can be used as standard braille embossers, but all have Windows printer drivers that permit any Tiger to emboss information from any Windows application. Graphics are interpreted as black and white tones for which dark areas are represented by tall dots and light areas by low dots. Tiger printer drivers recognize certain screen fonts (e.g. the Tiger screen fonts, braille screen fonts) and substitute dot patterns. Thus a user can emboss standard braille, 8-dot braille, foreign braille codes, or DotsPlus braille, by choosing the correct screen font. Standard screen fonts (e.g. Arial, Times Roman) are embossed as graphic images. If the point size is large, such letters are readable tactually by a person who knows the shapes of printed letters.

The new Tiger Ink Attachment, being introduced initially for the Tiger Pro, snaps onto the Tiger embosser and accepts signals and power from the Tiger. This attachment prints black ink from a standard industrial HP[3] ink jet cartridge. Tiger can recognize certain screen fonts and substitute various forms of braille, so that in many cases, text on screen is normal English text, but braille is embossed. When the ink attachment is in use, the page that emerges is embossed with braille text, and overprinted in ink just as any black and white ink printer would print the document. In such cases, no special effort by the user is needed to produce a page readable by both blind and sighted people.

There are other times when the text showing on screen is a representation of the braille code but does not convey the actual meaning to a sighted person who is not a braille expert. In such cases, printing in ink what is shown on screen is not desireable. It is possible with most word processors to superimpose another image in a transparent text box, and if users choose the correct font, Tiger will print that overlay in ink but not emboss it. Thus it is usually possible for a skilled sighted user to create a word processor document with braille that is embossed and standard characters that are printed in ink. ViewPlus is developing software that will simplify or automate this process of creating documents so that good braille can be embossed and correct meanings printed. These applications should work in most Windows applications. At present, the most straightforward way to get correct braille and correct ink printed translation is through the Duxbury DBT application.

The Duxbury DBT Braille Translator and Reverse Translator

Duxbury DBT[2] is the world's leading braille translator. It can translate and format braille documents and can emboss to all standard braille embossers and to Tiger embossers either in their normal Windows (Tiger) mode or their standard embosser (legacy) mode. DBT is a braille word processor as well as translator, so users can key in braille as desired. DBT can also edit print documents. Because of this, and customized support for Tiger embossers, DBT is uniquely able to produce high quality print and braille documents in a single pass. This new DBT feature will be demonstrated in the presentation.

References

  1. Tiger embossers are manufactured by ViewPlus Technologies, http://www.ViewPlus.com

  2. Duxbury Systems, Inc. is the leading manufacturer of braille word processors and translators. Duxbury sells translators for dozens of the world's major languages. http://www.duxburysystems.com

  3. HP (Hewlett Packard, Inc. is the leading manufacturer of ink jet printers, ink-jet mechanisms, and inks for such printers. http://www.hp.com


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