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ROBOBRAILLE and IT for Persons with Special Needs

March 6, 2011

I was thinking of my project: Rizal’s poems in sign language, when I suddenly thought of DAISY (Digital Accessible Information System). My last talk with Mr. Hiroshi Kawamura, DAISY President and our trainor, was about the development that they are doing and to launch, if I am not mistaken this year, to include sign language in the new DAISY softwares. Since I have added options that will serve the blind, I couldn’t but think: why not do it later in DAISY format? Afterall, I am also after information accessibility for the blind. So I visited the DAISY website… where I came to learn about Lars Ballieu Christensen….

a young man in mid 20’s who wanted to help two blind students by ensuring that their textbooks were accessible. Lars was born in 1963. Today he works with information technology and design for people with special needs. He founded Sensus, a research-based consultancy organisation, in the mid 1980’s. Since then he has advised numerous governments, national and international organisations, NGOs and private companies on accessibility, inclusive design and access to digital information. Lars is the inventor or co-inventor of numerous innovative enabling technologies, including the award winning RoboBraille, an e-mail service which can convert digital text documents into either Braille or audio files. It is quick and easy to use. You simply send an e-mail with an attached text document to RoboBraille. Shortly after, you will receive the document back from RoboBraille in the specified format – an audio file, for example. It is free for non-commercial users to use RoboBraille. (Click to read: frontpage)

Lars travels around the world to share his knowledge and opinion, and to propose solutions to important problems such as the following:

  • How do we support integration and inclusion in mainstream society as a viable alternative to segregation in special schools?
  • How do we ensure that educational materials are accessible to people who are blind or have a reading disability?
  • How can we take advantage of emerging technologies to provide equal opportunities in education and employment for those with special needs?

(To read more on Lars, click: lars-ballieu-christensen)

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