Photo courtesy of NLS. Image Description and More Details
The Trace Center is part of a consortium contracted in 2005 to design and develop the next generation of digital talking book players for the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS). In addition to NLS, the design team includes Battelle, HumanWare, the National Federation of the Blind, and the Trace Center.
Trace has been responsible for testing with consumers who have physical disabilities and assisting in testing with elders, helping to ensure that the new player, media, and packaging are fully accessible. “People who are older and those with multiple disabilities are a large part of the talking book user population,” according to Trace Center Director Gregg Vanderheiden. “Our work can help ensure that current users will continue to be able to use talking books as they age, and new patrons will also be able to enjoy digital talking books.”
The final usability testing is scheduled to be completed in Spring 2007. Mass production of the new digital talking book machines will begin in 2007, with 60,000 machines to be allocated to libraries and loaned to patrons by 2008.
The Trace Center worked with Curtis Chong, National Federation of the Blind, and others in the development of specifications for digital talking books. Trace also participated in planning discussions with NLS on the digital talking book project.
- National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped – through a national network of cooperating libraries, NLS administers a free library program of braille and audio materials circulated to eligible borrowers in the United States by postage-free mail.
- HumanWare – designs and manufactures digital talking book players and other products for people who are blind or have low vision.
- DAISY Consortium – a leader in the worldwide transition from analog to digital talking books; official maintenance agency for the open standard specifications for the digital talking book.
Funding for the work has been provided by HumanWare as part of Federal Contract No. GS23F0011L (U.S. General Services Administration). Additional funding has been provided by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), U.S. Department of Education, under grant H133E030012.