Right on the edge of useful

Building text and sound descriptions of graphs on the fly

Posted Tuesday, August 29, 2006 8:34:06 AM by Zoe Gillenwater

Zoe Gillenwater

Today I heard about a very cool new tool developed by NASA. From their press release:

The MDE (Math Description Engine) distinguishes itself from other accessibility software by determining the key characteristics of a graph "on the fly." Using this determination, it builds natural-language text descriptions that enable visually-impaired users to view spatial relationships through sound alone.

Check out the demos at the MDE web site for examples of the text and sound the software can generate. It's pretty neat. I can see a great use for this, as I work for a research center that deals with a lot of data. So far, we've laid graphs out and written their alternative text manually. But with this new tool, it might finally be time to look into graphs that are built dynamically, because now they can be accessible too.

Category tags: Accessibility, Graphics, Open Source