[Athen] more details on physics lab equipment

Linda Petty linda.petty at utoronto.ca
Wed Jan 7 13:37:31 PST 2015

>From Linda Petty

Here is an excerpt from our physics lab technician's email to the student, as he is working on improving access. He has put into place a table with an outlet for charging, for easy and ergonomic access for the student, and also purchased a Braille labeler to label equipment.
Here is his list of equipment, and the problem of getting data from the equipment that is comprehensible to a screen reader:

"Thirdly, about accessible lab equipment. We have some digital multimeters with RS232 outputs of their data. The software that comes with the meters is for Windows. As it happens, last year one of our Physics students worked on a special project to program an Arduino to read this multimeter and present the data on the computer. She was not entirely successful in this goal. The biggest difficulty was in getting the data out of the meter and reading it properly. Further work on this project might result in success, and so I have obtained an Arduino and have been learning how to use it. So far so good, it's fun to learn a new skill. This is perhaps an area where you can help, especially where passing the data to your laptop is concerned.

Our standard lab oscilloscopes also have RS232 ports, also with outdated Windows software. Not so useful. However, we also have a device called Circuitgear CGR-101. This is a small module with 2 inputs for oscilloscope leads and 1 output for a function generator. The CGR-101 comes with software available in Windows, MacOS and Linux. All "open source". I installed the software on one of the lab iMacs and it works very nicely. You can try installing it on your laptop and see how it works for you. We will be happy to lend you one of the CGR-101 units to try out.

The website for the company is at Syscompdesign.com. Here is a link to the Linux software. They also have a LabView application for the product.

We have some lab power supplies and precision digital multimeters from Keysight (formerly called Agilent). They have digital outputs through GPIB and RS232 ports. The associated software is called BenchVu and is Windows based. There is also a mobile app for iOS and Android devices. We might be able to access the data coming from the RS232 port and pass it on to your Linux laptop. That's another project to look into.

Finally, I have ordered a product from National Instruments, the NI myDAQ. This product has digital and analog inputs and several software based instruments which run in a LabView application. LabView has some support for Linux, but I am not sure if the software for this particular product is available in Linux. Further research required here.

So that's what we have so far. I welcome your comments and advice on how to proceed toward finding the solutions which will work best for you. From our department, we have some funding available to purchase some equipment and software, but it is not unlimited. So we need to prioritize and decide how best to spend the limited money.

As for my work on developing tools & solutions, I'm already paid to work here, so my time is "free" as far as the accounts are concerned. Professionally, I welcome to opportunity to learn some new skills and make a positive contribution here. As a department we are committed to doing everything we can to help you access our physics labs and classes."

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Today's Topics:

1. ? resource people/info on physics lab accessibility?? Please?
(Linda Petty)
2. Re: ? resource people/info on physics lab accessibility??
Please? (Lisa Brandt)


Message: 1
Date: Wed, 7 Jan 2015 17:00:31 +0000
From: Linda Petty <linda.petty at utoronto.ca>
To: "athen-list at u.washington.edu" <athen-list at u.washington.edu>
Cc: Linda Petty <linda.petty at utoronto.ca>
Subject: [Athen] ? resource people/info on physics lab accessibility??
<f6652d10-028f-4096-99d0-11065d63bbb0 at ARBOREXHUBX2.UTORARBOR.UTORAD.Utoronto.ca>

Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"

Our department is working with a first year student at the Univ. of Toronto, who is blind and uses Linux and Windows on a PC, accessed with ORCCA and NVDA respectively, as well as a Braille display. We have been working successfully this fall with use of NVDA and LaTeX for access to computer science course material, as well as a PIAF for creating tactile graphics of tutorial images. The student has also been taking physics, with lab partners to read out relevant data from experiments, and working with a physics lab technician and myself on finding ways of accessing the information from the various data measuring devices directly.

Next year, the student will need to be able to access all of the information independently, instead of through lab partners. While this can be accommodated with a sited lab partner, we are looking to purchase tools or accessible interfaces or equipment so that the student can do this independently.

Rather than send the complete list of equipment to the whole list, is there anyone has worked through these issues already, or can connect me to someone who works professionally in physics, using accessible equipment? If you could email me, off list, at linda.petty at utoronto.ca, or email the list if it's good general resources or info for everyone, I'd appreciate it.
Thank you!

Linda Petty, O.T. Reg. (Ont.)
Assistive Technology Consultant
AccessAbility Services
a division of Student Affairs

Science Wing, Room SW302G
1265 Military Trail, Toronto, Ontario ?M1C 1A4 Direct Line:?416-208-5144 Tel/TTY (appointments): 416-287-7560
Fax: 416-287-7334

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Message: 2
Date: Wed, 7 Jan 2015 09:53:05 -0800
From: Lisa Brandt <lisa.brandt1 at pcc.edu>
To: Access Technology Higher Education Network
<athen-list at u.washington.edu>
Subject: Re: [Athen] ? resource people/info on physics lab
accessibility?? Please?
<CAEbem9x8b7jsh3beyzYX_ziR3JUj6SjF4etNRRQe-h7gL-16ng at mail.gmail.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"

I actually WOULD like to see a complete list of equipment if anyone has such a thing. :-)

On Wed, Jan 7, 2015 at 9:00 AM, Linda Petty <linda.petty at utoronto.ca> wrote:

> Rather than send the complete list of equipment to the whole list


Lisa Brandt, PCC Disability Services
Accessibility Technician
Alternate Media Formats Technician
SY CC 260
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