NEW YORK: Now we have the first of its kind ebook for children with visual damages which would be available soon at Apple’s outlet and is free for download on iPads.
The book entitled ‘Reach for the Stars: Touch, Look, Listen, Learn,’ is enthused by a latest Hubble Space Telescope image of the flamboyant ’30 Doradus Nebula’ – a huge star-forming region.
“We want to convince children that science is cool, is fun and that anybody could be a scientist, if they want to”- Astronomer Elena Sabbi, Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), Baltimore, Maryland.
‘Reach for the Stars’ shows blind that there are nothing to stop them. “And technology is improving so fast that we are sure you will be able to learn and to do things. Things are becoming more reachable”-Sabbi.
Sabbi and her team are working on the book in partnership with SAS, a North Carolina based company that develops analytics software to help people analyze and visualize data.
“We created this mainstream book in a way that would benefit everybody, rather than something that is specifically dedicated to a relatively small audience of students with visual impairments” -Ed Summers, senior manager at SAS.
The eBook is said to have six chapters and 90 pages. Every chapter would begin with a question, followed by its answer.
Children with visual impairments will not only hear the text but also access the book using a rejuvenating braille display i.e the ‘Voiceover’ screen reader, or zoom that is included in every iPad.
Images, graphics, videos and animations would also be part of every chapter.
Some of the images will be attractive. Several bulging star clusters in image of the 30 Doradus Nebula, for example, are marked by circles. Touch a circle and a short caption appears on the screen describing the cluster.
In addition to the Voiceover and read options, the book also offers closed captioning, an option for people with hearing aids, and a high-contrast feature for those with low vision.
For brightness, SAS is using pitch to tell people with visual impairments the brightness of a particular star when they touch it. The brighter the star, the higher the pitch -Summers.