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IBM Labs: Helping the Blind 'See' Internet Multimedia

The emergence of multimedia content has risen dramatically in the last two years yet people with low or no vision have not been able to enjoy the benefits of these advances. Among other complications, current screen-reading software and self-talking browsers cannot handle multimedia applications. IBM has plans to open source its new multimedia browsing accessibility tool to accelerate the enhancement and adoption of the tool to make multimedia contents accessible for the visually impaired.

Designed at IBM's Tokyo Research Laboratory, a new emerging technology helps blind and visually impaired people (about 161 million individuals worldwide) experience streaming video and animation on the Internet. The new multimedia browsing accessibility tool offers visually impaired people to use predefined shortcut keys to control the media, instead of roaming the content to search for buttons on the screen. The tool also allows users to control video replay speed, volume and even speed up the sound since to people with visual impairment, listening to the sound streaming video offers is painfully slow. The tool can adjust the volume of an individual source, allowing users to identify and listen to different sound sources. If a content creator wants to offer a voice narrative to a video, the new accessibility tool provides the flexibility of utilizing the metadata, which contains a text script explaining what is happening on screen.

News source: Physorg

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