A vision-impaired person will be able to control media content on the Internet without using the mouse
According to reports, IBM will soon launch a multimedia browser to make audio and video content accessible to people with vision impairments.
The technology codenamed as the Accessibility Browser or A-Browser is a software created by a blind IBM employee in Japan, Dr Chieko Asakawa.
Using the A-Browser, a vision-impaired person will be able to control media content by using predefined shortcut keys, rather than having to look for the control buttons using a mouse.
It is learnt that the A-Browser is very much like Internet Explorer as it can surf just about any web page. So, once a user opens a web page, the browser automatically analyses multimedia objects inside the page, then the browser establishes a connection to each multimedia object. As of now, the browser has adapters for Adobe Flash and Windows Media Player.
Reportedly, the A-browser will allow videos to be slowed down, speeded up and will accommodate an additional audio description or narration track, which is often included to make film and television programmes more comprehensible to blind people.
In addition, the volume controls also allow the user to adjust the sound of various sources independently such as the main audio track, an audio description track and output from a screen reader.
The company estimates that over 160 million blind and partially-sighted people around the world would benefit from this a development.
IBM said that technology will be available sometime later this year and hopes to make it available for free. Also, there are plans to 'open source' the technology in order to make it available to a large number of people.
However, IBM has not yet decided whether the A-Browser will be launched worldwide or only select countries initially.