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Real-time Synchronous Slideshow Presentation Access Technology for the Blind

This research has developed a prototype software package called SPARC (Slideshow Presentation Access with Real-time Communication) that enables people with blindness or visual impairments to have synchronous access to slideshow presentation made with Microsoft Office PowerPoint, using cloud computing as a core Internet of Things (IoT) technology. The SPARC consists of three inter-related system components: a presenter add-in, a cloud service, and a user terminal application program. Once the slideshow starts, the presenter add-in automatically analyzes the current slide and convert it into accessible text format. Then, it publishes the converted text to the SPARC cloud service along with some metadata including a slide number, information on slide layout, and non-textual object properties in the current slide. The SPARC cloud service is a message-oriented middleware empowered by IoT technology and enables real-time communication between the presenter and the audience. The SPARC user terminal software is an application program that receives the slide information from the cloud service and displays it on user's assistive devices. In the lab trial where there were one computer on the presenter side and five different devices on the audience side, it was demonstrated that all the audience-side devices had successful real-time access to the current slide information synchronized with the active presentation on the presenter compute without any missing data and perceptible delays.

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