SML Interview – Blind Computer Programmer Adam Puckett

 

Above is an edited recording of an interview at the Staunton Media Lab with Adam Puckett, a blind computer programmer studying at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. Adam visited SML in early June to talk about his efforts at creating synthetic video and audio files. Adam creates videos by programming the pixels on the screen. He cannot “see” the videos he creates, yet he knows what they look like. Puckett is interviewed by SML director Steve O’Keefe. Audio engineer and editor is Coley Evans who, like Puckett, was born blind. A text transcript of the interview with links to sources follows. Thanks for supporting the Staunton Media Lab!

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We Want Reading Glasses for the Blind!

glasses LWe Want Reading Glasses for the Blind!

An Open Letter to the Engineers at Google Glass, Google Translate, Apple Wearables, Samsung, Microsoft and any other tech firm sitting on billions of dollars of cash you made selling luxury goods you paid pennies for: We Want Reading Glasses for the Blind!

We want glasses that can focus on documents and read them into the ear. How hard is that? It’s not hard at all. You have all the tools you need to build these glasses TODAY using existing software and hardware. You have a supply chain that could ramp up that production and kick out a pair of Reading Glasses for the Blind for everyone who needs them by Christmas. And you could do this for $100/pair and still make a profit.

So where are our Reading Glasses for the Blind?

Here’s how it works. You have a camera lens embedded in the glasses frame. Check. You point that camera at the document in front of your face and take a picture. Click. You scan that picture for recognizable text in a specific language. Whiz. You perform optical character recognition on the image and turn the recognizable parts into text. Bang. You use a reading program such as VoiceOver to read the text out of the earbuds. Bam! Call it Scan-to-Speech. Almost any Android or iPhone can do all of this easily.

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New Audio => Steve O’Keefe on the Staunton Media Lab

 

We are pleased to bring you this edited audio and transcript from the Staunton Media Lab. This four-minute audio file was edited down from a one-hour session at the Media Lab on May 13, 2015. The audio features SML Founder, Steve O’Keefe, interviewed by Audio Engineer Coley Evans about the origins of the Lab.

The Staunton Media Lab meets every Wednesday afternoon and broadcasts live at 2:00 p.m. ET on YouNow and YouTube. Edited video and audio from those sessions is available at YouTube, YouNow, and Soundcloud.

Transcript of Staunton Media Lab recorded May 13, 2015
Featuring an Interview with SML Founder, Steve O’Keefe
Concerning the Origins of the Staunton Media Lab
Edited by SML Audio Engineer, Coley Evans

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Google Translate for the Visually Impaired

We’re very pleased to present a project we’ve been working on for some time at the Staunton Media Lab. We call it The Google Translate Trick. These are instructions for using Google Translate to read any printed document. For the blind and visually impaired, this technique has the potential to make life a little easier by reading things to you such as street signs, menus, legal documents, written instructions, books, magazines, newspapers, and almost any other printed document—in up to 90 different languages! Wow! That’s life-changing.

The Google Translate Trick is a crude scanner-to-voice system that is very close to being a great piece of assistive technology. With a couple tweaks, it could open up entire libraries to the blind without the need for embossing into Braille or producing talking books. Right now, it can be an incredible facilitator for the visually impaired who have enough sight to position the camera. They can use it to have legal documents or other important information—such as prescription labels or doctor’s instructions—read to them by their phones.

We have been trying to work out the bugs in this presentation, but there are just too many issues to deal with. We feel it is important to present the information we have and then continuously improve it. Below is a 2-minute video of the technique, followed by step-by-step instructions, and then an edited, audio-only version of the instructions. We sincerely welcome your feedback in the comments section about your experiences attempting The Google Translate Trick and your suggestions for improving our instructions. Thank You!

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More Ambient Audio from SML – Sansula plus Stream and Birds

 

The Staunton Media Lab is pleased to offer another piece of copyright-free, ambient audio for your use and enjoyment.

This is a sensational seven-minutes of near silence. It’s meant to run in the background of a video or slideshow or just on your computer while you’re working away. SML audio engineer Coley Evans has kept the sound very soft; you’ll have to turn it up to hear the intriguing tones of the Sansula.

What is a Sansula? A Sansula is a type of thumb piano designed for music therapy. It plays a modal series of tones that are soothing by themselves and also pleasing in any combination. The tines of the thumb piano are pressed down with the thumb to generate the tone.

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10 Minutes of Audio Bliss! An Ambient Soundscape

 

This is the second offering from the Staunton Media Lab. This week, we’re serving up 10 Minutes of Audio Bliss! This is an ambient soundscape recorded deep in the Taxter Ridge Park Preserve in Westchester County, New York.

Go ahead, start the audio while you read this post. It features water running over rocks in a stream along with bird calls and a little breeze. It’s very peaceful and can help calm you. Put it on in the background and relax!

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Introducing the Staunton Media Lab

smiling girl with headset

This is the first official announcement of something we’re calling the Staunton Media Lab. We begin with our first podcast, a series of sound checks cooked down to a 3-minute audio file.

Have you ever wondered, “Would I sound better if I used a webcam?” The answer is, “Yes!” That’s the surprising result of our side-by-side comparison of 10 different microphone/recording combinations. Listen to the embedded audio and use the comments below to tell us which sounds best to you—and why.

The Staunton Media Lab is an attempt to build a vocational training program for people who are hearing-impaired, visually-impaired, or cognitively-impaired teaching the skills of editing audio and video files. Today’s audio file was assembled from more than a dozen recordings by audio engineer Coley Evans, who has been blind since birth. For those in our audience who are hearing impaired, we provide the following guide to the audio file.

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