[Athen] Refreshable Braille and Nemeth code

Burke, Dan (DSS) burke at mso.umt.edu
Thu Jul 16 12:21:18 PDT 2009

I'll take a crack at this, and others with more knowledge can jump in
and set the conversation back on the right path if I stray.

I think that you're going to have to create Nemeth for the student,
regardless of JAWS or refreshable Braille display. The problem is not
in getting hard copy Nemeth, but in the translation of complex
mathematics to Nemeth. Once done, either a note taker or a Braille
display (I am not conversant on what needs to happen to make this one
work, but probably Duxbury?) or hard copy follow. So, you are right
that JAWS cannot read the PDF or other doc with math or scientific
notation and convert that to Nemeth for a Braille display.

This is if the student wants to use Nemeth.

I recommend the NFB listserv, Blind Math. There are a lot of folks
doing math, chemistry, engineering, etc., using a variety of tools and
means of access. The student in particular would benefit from
interacting with folks on this list.


Daniel J. Burke
Assistant Director/Coordinator
Disability Services for Students
Emma B. Lommasson 154
The University of Montana
Missoula, MT 59812


406.243.2243 voice/text
406.243.4424 direct line
406.243.5330 fax

-----Original Message-----
From: athen-bounces at athenpro.org [mailto:athen-bounces at athenpro.org] On
Behalf Of Kathy Cahill
Sent: Thursday, July 16, 2009 12:40 PM
To: Access Technology Higher Education Network
Subject: [Athen] Refreshable Braille and Nemeth code

Dear Colleagues;

We have an incoming freshman who is blind and will be using lots of
technology. Given his courseload (Calculus, Chemistry, Physics and a
humanities class), he is going to be needing detailed access to
mathematical and scientific information. He is a JAWS user already and
knows Nemeth. So, that's good.

The student has indicated he would prefer to access the math and science
in Braille. So, I have some questions for you:

1. We are considering recommending a refreshable Braille display for
him. Can refreshable Braille displays do Nemeth? My understanding is
that the screen reader software is the intermediary between the
information on the screen and the Braille display. So, if JAWS can't do
math, how does the Nemeth code get to the refreshable Braille display?

2. Can Braille notetakers function as refreshable Braille devices? Is
it recommended?

3. If our student prefers hardcopies of any of his textbooks in
Braille, we will need to outsource it. Do you have any recommendations
of places that do Nemeth translation and embossing?

Thanks for any sage advice!


Kathleen Cahill
Adaptive Technology Specialist
MIT ATIC (Adaptive Technology) Lab
77 Mass. Ave. 7-143
Cambridge MA 02139
(617) 253-5111
kcahill at mit.edu

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