At IEEE EMBC 2006 (the 28th Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society), August 30th-September 3rd, New York, U.S.A., we have organized a special session to demonstrate the research activities of the project research group "Fundamentals of Welfare Information" funded by Grant-In-Aid for Scientific Research (Kakenhi) by the Ministry of Education, Japan.
IEEE EMBC：IEEE is the world's biggest academic association on electricity, electronics, and information technology. It has many special interest groups and EMBS, Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, is one of them. Rehabilitaion engineering is one of EMBC's activity area.
Session Title: Information-Based Support Technologies for Persons with Visual Disabilities
Purpose of organizing the session：Almost every technology, from low to high, can be used to improve the QOL of persons with visual disabilities as well as other kinds of disabilities. Among those technologies we would like to focus on the information-based technologies in this special session. Effective use of such information technologies can make up for the inconvenience arising from visual impairments. Blind persons and persons with low vision are relieved physically and mentally by acquiring supplementary- or alternative-information with help of various kinds of tools that can assist or substitute their visual sense. For example, magnification and/or changing colors of characters are useful for reading of persons with low vision. The appropriate assistance in this magnification or color adjustment is feasible by the feedback of physiological information derived from their visual system. Persons with visual disabilities can also be helped by acquiring alternative information via his or her auditory and/or tactile sense instead of visual information. The most popular way of sensory substitution is the use of hearing ability by blind persons. Another typical method of sensory substitution is the use of Braille characters, that consist of tactile six dots and read by the fingers. Information transformation from printed materials or electronic data into speech or Braille/vibration has been practically used. But it still has many problems to be solved for more efficient information transmission. Ingenious transforming techniques are necessary for persons with visual disabilities to understand the original meaning more correctly and smoothly. In order to develop these methods, visual, auditory, and tactile cognitive characteristics of these persons should be understood thoroughly. In this organized session, the latest results of information-based technologies used to assist the activities of persons with visual disabilities are presented along with the analyses of visual, auditory, and tactile cognitive characteristics of those persons.
Organizers: Tetsuya Watanabe (National Institute of Special Education) and michio Miyakawa (University of Niigata)
Venue: New York Marriott Marquis Hotel at Times Square, Marquis C, New York City, NY, USA
Session Time：Friday September 1, 10:45-12:15 (EasternTime)
|(1)||[Invited paper] J. R. Marston (Univ. of California Santa Barbara, USA):
"Using Remote Infrared Audible Cues to Increase Spatial Knowledge Aquisition for Persons Who are Blind or Visually Impaired in a Multimodal Transportaion environment."
|(2)||M. Miyakawa, Y. Maeda, Y. Miyazawa, and J. Hori (Niigata Univ., Japan):
" A Smart Video Magnifier Controlled by the Visibility Signal of a Low Vision User."
|(3)||T. Watanabe, S. Oouchi, T. Yamaguchi (Nat. Inst. of Special Education, Japan), M. Shimojo (Univ. of Electro-Communications, Japan) and S. Shimada (Tokyo Metropolitan Industrial Technology Res. Inst.):
"Development of a Measuring System of Contact Force during Braille Reading using an Optical 6-Axis Force Sensor. "
|(4)||T. Nishimoto, S. Sako, S. Sagayama (Univ. of Tokyo, Japan), K. Ohshima, K. Oda, and T. Watanabe (Tokyo Women's Cristian Univ., Japan):
" Effect of Learning on Listening to Ultra-Fast Synthesized Speech."
|(5)||M. Miyagi, Y. Horiuchi, M. Nishida, and A. Ichikawa (Chiba Univ., Japan):
"Analysis of Prosody in Finger Braille Using Electromyography."
Using Remote Infrared Audible Cues to Increase Spatial Knowledge Aquisition for Persons Who are Blind or Visually Impaired in a Multimodal Transportaion environment
James R. Marston (Univ. of California Santa Barbara, USA)
This paper reports on a filed test with blind travelers at a large multi-modal train terminal. Participants used their regular methods of navigation or used a form of auditory signage installed in the environment while exploring the area and performing transfer related tasks. Those who used the auditory signage exhibited a better understanding of the spatial relationships among locations. They were able to make more shortcuts and also answered questions that showed they understood the spatial layout and had a much better cognitive map then those who used their regular methods of navigation and orientation.
A Smart Video Magnifier Controlled by the Visibility Signal of a Low Vision User
Michio Miyakawa, Yoshinobu Maeda, Youichi Miyazawa, and Junichi Hori (Niigata Univ., Japan)
A smart video magnifier for the people with visual disabilities is now being developed to assist their stress-free reading. In a video magnifier, the users watch the monitor screen that is displaying the book page to be read. Eye movement is needed for reading a book. The difficulty of character recognition that is dependent on the environmental conditions is reflected to the eye movement. Accordingly, information on the visibility of the user is extracted as physiological signals accompanied by the gazing motion. These signals are basically used to control the video magnifier. The advantages and usefulness of the adaptive-type video magnifier are discussed in this paper.
Development of a Measuring System of Contact Force during Braille Reading using an Optical 6-Axis Force Sensor.
Tetsuya Watanabe, Susumu Oouchi, Toshimitsu Yamaguchi (Nat. Inst. of Special Education, Japan), Makoto Shimojo, (Univ. of Electro-Communications, Japan) and Sshigenobu Shimada (Tokyo Metropolitan Industrial Technology Res. Inst.)
A system was developed by using an optical 6-axis force sensor to measure contact force during Braille reading. In using this system, we have dealt two problems. One is variability of output values depending on the contact point. It was solved by using two transformation techniques. The other is that subjects have to read Braille in an irregular manner. We compared two manners of Braille reading, one-hand vs. two-hands, and found small reduction in reading speed. We have collected data from two Braille readers with this system and shown more minute contact force trajectories quantitatively than those in earlier studies.
Effect of Learning on Listening to Ultra-Fast Synthesized Speech
Takuya Nishimoto, Shinji Sako, Shigeki Sagayama (The University of Tokyo), Kazue Ohshima, Koichi Oda, and Takayuki Watanabe (Tokyo Woman's Christian University)
A text-to-speech synthesizer that would produce easily understandable voices at very fast speaking rates is expected to help persons with visual disability to acquire information effectively with screen reading softwares. We investigated the intelligibility of Japanese Text-to-Speech systems at fast speaking rates, using four-digit random numbers as the vocabulary of the recall test. We also studied the fast and intelligible text-to-speech engine, using HMM-based synthesizer with the corpus with fast speaking rate. As the results, the statistical models trained with the fast speaking corpus was effective. The learning effect was significant in the early stage of the trials and the effect sustained for several weeks.
Analysis of Prosody in Finger Braille Using Electromyography
Manabi Miyagi, Masafumi Nishida, Yasuo Horiuchi, and Akira Ichikawa (Chiba Univ., Japan)
Analysis of Prosody in Finger Braille Using Electromyography Finger braille is one of the communication methods for the deaf blind. The interpreter types braille codes on the fingers of deaf blind. Finger braille seems to be the most suited medium for real-time communication by its quickness and accuracy of transmitting characters. We hypothesize that the prosody information exists in the time structure and strength of finger braille typing. Prosody is the non-linguistic information that has functions to transmit the sentence structure, prominence, emotions and other form of information in real time communication. In this study, we measured the surface electromyography (sEMG) of finger movement to analyze the strength of finger braille typing. We found that the strength of finger movement increases at the beginning of a phrase and a prominent phrase. The result shows the possibility that the prosody in the strength of finger braille can be applied to create an interpreter system for the deaf-blind.
Sorry! Sentences below are still in Japanese.
Left: audience in the venue. Middle: Presenters and co-authors from Japan. Right: Sushi at the Marriott Hotel.
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Last updated: August 27, 2007
Copyright (C) 2006-2007 Tetsuya WATANABE