Dr. James Coughlan has been awarded funds to increase access to his CamIO tool for making objects accessible to blind and visually impaired persons. The funds were part of NIH's Notice of Special Interest for Administrative Supplements to Enhance Software Tools for Open Science and will allow Dr. Coughlan and his team to enhance the CamIO software to lower the barriers to researchers who wish to incorporate it in their own projects or test it out for their own applications.
Briefly, CamIO is a tool intended to make physical objects, including documents, tactile maps and 3D objects such as architectural models and appliances, fully accessible to people who are blind or visually impaired. In the system design, the user provides input to the system by pointing to a target on a 3D or 2D object and hears audio feedback about the target. CamIO has previously been successfully implemented as part of the Magic Map installation at the Magical Bridge Playground in Palo Alto.
With the additional funds, Dr. Coughlan and his team plan two major enhancements to the CamIO software: a restructure the software with the goal of making it easier for others to incorporate in their own accessibility projects, and the creation of SKIstream, a rapid prototyping and debugging tool for use with CamIO and similar accessibility projects.