IBM Creates Tool For The Blind

    March 14, 2007

IBM has developed a multimedia browsing accessibility tool that helps blind and visually impaired people experience streaming video and animation on the Internet.

The multimedia-browsing tool offers people with visual impairment the same multimedia control features sighted people see and operate with a mouse. To experience a streaming video on a video-sharing Web site, visually impaired are able to select a "play" button by pressing a shortcut key to operate the media. The tool enables users to control video speed, volume and sound.

"The new multimedia browsing accessibility tool will enable persons with visual impairments the opportunity to access dynamic multimedia web content, quickly and easily," said Frances West, director, IBM Human Ability and Accessibility Center. "IBM has a long history of developing innovative solutions for persons with disabilities, and this tool is another example of IBM innovation that will enhance the web experience for persons with visual impairments."

The multimedia browsing accessibility tool can control the volume of a single source, enabling users to identify and listen to different sound sources such as screen-reading software and the sound of video. If a content creator offers a voice narrative to a video, the accessibility tool has a text script explaining what is happening on the screen. The tool makes automatic adjustments to allow voice guidance to synchronize with the video.

IBM plans to open source the multimedia browsing accessibility tool to speed the adoption of the tool and to make multimedia content accessible for the visually impaired.