[Athen] Refreshable Braille and Nemeth code

Patrick Burke burke at ucla.edu
Thu Jul 16 12:35:43 PDT 2009

At the risk of creating Too-Many-Burkes Confusion ...:

Dan's on the right track. The most common process would be to use
Duxbury to create the files, which can be sent electronically to the
student (.brf format, for ex.), or turned into hardcopy.

The only limitation of using a notetaker device for this is the
number of braille cells available. A desktop display can give you up
to 80 characters, so there's a fighting chance to read an equation on
one line (or at least a major chunk of it.) With a notetaker, the
user has to be good at scrolling through material without getting
lost. (Then again, most 80-cell displays don't have GPS ...) So it
depends what the student already has, is used to from past work, &
what the campus can afford, I suppose.


At 12:21 PM 7/16/2009, Burke, Dan \(DSS\) wrote:

>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




>Athen mailing list

>Athen at athenpro.org




>Athen mailing list

>Athen at athenpro.org


Patrick J. Burke

UCLA Disabilities &
Computing Program

Phone: 310 206-6004
E-mail: burke <at> ucla. edu

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