Oct 172010
 
Queensland University of Technology
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For many blind people, computers are inaccessible. It can cost upwards of $1000 to purchase “screen reader” software, but two blind computer programmers have solved this problem.

Queensland University of Technology (QUT) graduate James Teh and business partner Michael Curran developed a free, open-source program, called NVDA (NonVisual Desktop Access), which provides a synthetic voice to read the words on a computer screen as the cursor moves over them.

The invention won the blind duo accolades in the grand final program of the ABC’s show New Inventors, which aired on September 23. They took home the “Les* is More” award, for an invention that “might make a real difference to people’s lives or the environment.”

“A sighted person takes for granted that they can sit down at any computer and use it,” Mr Teh said.

“We really are in the information age — everything is online these days. So access to computers for the blind and vision impaired is incredibly important, which is why we wanted our software to be free.”

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