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Introduction

The Support Centre for Students with Special Needs at Masaryk University, Czech Republic, provides students with disabilities with services in educational setup.

Besides providing translation into sign language, one of the major services for students with hearing impairment is the speech-to-text reporting service, when a reporter records the speech (a lecture or a seminar in a university environment or even any similar event outside of a university environment) as a text on a computer by means of a simultaneous typing, and several students reading the report on one common screen at the same time.

As students with visual impairment are concerned, the primary service of Masaryk University is to provide accessible documents to the group of students. Considering the fact that the documents to be accessed include also visual materials presented by a lecturer via a presentation screen, we have to deal with the problem that distance to the presentation screen as well as light conditions or the presentation layout creates readability barriers and obstructs the students to perceive presented information.

As the number of students who are dependent on those services has been increasing, Masaryk University tried to find a satisfactory solution of:

situations when groups of three or more hearing impaired students needed to follow a text report at once and provide them with a comfortable access to the report

1. Visualisation of the synchronous transcription (speech-to-text reports)

Initially, all students would watch a single screen – that of a reporter‘s laptop – but this solution turned out to be unbearable when there were more than two students. Requirements for a new solution were the following:

  • simple and quick technical preparation;
  • independence on a local technical infrastructure;
  • speech-to-text report must be synchronized with a reporter‘s typing;
  • basic parameters of a reported text should be customizable;
  • a possibility of a basic two-way communication (a user must be allowed to send text messages).

and

access to presentation documents in enlarged form displayed on a handheld device by visually impaired.

2. Presentation screen mirroring enhancing the readability for users with visual impairment

Observing the students in lectures at the university and participants at presentations on conferences we gathered a list of key features required to such a system:

  • simple and quick technical preparation;
  • independence on presentation technologies;
  • speech-to-text report must be possible to be added;
  • magnification of the content must be possible;
  • compatible with handheld devices of users;
  • nearly real-time update of the mirroring without consuming too much battery power.

Polygraf, version 2 has been developed at Masaryk University to solve technically both the issues. And as environment of lectures, seminars and presentation events naturally creates other more barriers for persons with other kinds of disabilities, we plan to continue developing Polygraf to implement more features resolving other issues.



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History

The development on Polygraf system started in 2010 as a reaction on the increasing number of hearing impaired students. Till that time, the visualisation of transcripts was realised by individual solutions. In few cases where there were more than two hearing impaired students at once, we provisionally solved the issues in these ways:

The development on Polygraf version 2 started at the end of 2012 and it was required by visually impaired students as well as by other participants who follow presentations within university activities. Improvised solutions upon the release of Polygraf version 2 were not very effective and costed a lot of preparation:



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Purpose of Polygraf

Initially, the main aim to develop Polygraf was to provide an access to spoken language for hard of hearing students of university, so Polygraf version 1 solved the issue of visualizing speech-to-text reports for larger group of users with that disability.

As more and more students with visual impairment have encountered barriers to perceive information displayed on presentation screens, Polygraf has been developed further on (version 2) to resolve the issue.

Polygraf as a whole is typically used at lectures and seminars but, however, given the fact that requirements for a technical equipment on a location are minimal, it can also be used outside of school facilities (such as at presentations and business meetings) when participation of persons with the disabilities is expected.


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Description of the System

Polygraf scheme A text reporter records a transcript of spoken language using a text editor – Microsoft Word is commonly used among Czech speech-to-text reporters. MS Word is extended with Polygraf add-in installed alongside and it “shares” the text report using a wireless network to the user’s mobile devices. At the same time, an hardware or alternatively software component of Polygraf (see below) captures the video signal of the presenter’s computer and provides it to the user’s mobile devices as constantly refreshed images. The transmission of the text report as well as the presentation screen to user’s mobile devices is continuously made over a Wi-Fi network. This network connects all devices together and it may be established with any portable WiFi access point, for instance. There is no need of Internet connectivity for the network.

Devices of users, such as mobile phones, tablets or laptops (with iOS, Android or Windows operating system) are installed with Polygraf and they receive the content – both the text report and the “mirror” of the presentation screen. The content can be displayed on mobile devices in the ways as follows:


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Uniqueness of Polygraf

Polygraf is based on a technology which can be used independently of commonly considered technical parameters of an environment such as wireless network signal coverage. It only requires access to electricity. All this makes it quite a universal system and as experience showed not only students with disabilities can take an advantage of the service but any users can do, as well.


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Features of Polygraf



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Components of Polygraf

Hardware:

Software



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Past occasions for presenting Polygraf v2

INSPO 2013, Prague, Czech Republic

16 March 2013

The conference INSPO – Internet and Information Systems for Persons with Special Needs is focused on the use of the Internet and information technologies in favour of persons with disabilities.
www.helpnet.cz/inspo

Practical use of Polygraf during the conference

The system Polygraf was used at the conference for visualizing spoken language of presentations in the plenary hall. For this reason it was necessary to provide a public display of the text transcript on one large projection screen, which displayed an output of an iPod with installed Polygraf system. Polygraf was further used for visualizing the presentation screen in the plenary hall, as well as in two additional conference rooms where parallel sessions were held, using the new Polygraf function of screen mirroring.

Participants also had a chance to borrow an iPad device for an individual viewing of the text transcriptions and presentation screen mirroring.

Presentation of the system Polygraf

The system Polygraf was introduced in a presentation given by Svatoslav Ondra and Jiří Tužil within the conference plenary session. Further, Polygraf was presented in the form of an exhibition stand in the lounge where the participants had a chance to try it out and to borrow iPad handheld displays for individual viewing of text transcrips of conference presentations and presentation screen mirroring.

AHEAD 2013 – Is Universal Design in Education Any of My Business, Dublin, Ireland

12–13 March 2013

AHEAD (Association for Higher Education Access & Disability) is the Irish National Centre of Expertise on inclusive education and works to promote full access to and participation in further and higher education for students with disabilities.

The AHEAD conference organized in 2013 aimed at HEI staff, academics, employers, students and policy makers with an interest in universal design.
www.eventelephant.com/aheadconference2013

Presentation of the system Polygraf

The system Polygraf was introduced to an international audience within a poster session with a practical demonstration presented by Christoph Damm.

CSUN – 28th Annual International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference, San Diego, United States

25 February – 2 March 2013

www.csun.edu/cod/conference/2013/sessions/index.php

Presentation slides for the CSUN conference, 2013

Christoph Damm presents Polygraf at CSUN conference 2013 Presentation of Polygraf transcription transmission Svatoslav Ondra presents the Hybridbook while participants follows the presentation screen on Polygraf Participant of the Hybridbook presentations follows the presentation screen on Polygraf

3rd International conference Universal Learning Design 2013, Brno, Czech Republic

11–15 February 2013

The international conference Universal Learning Design, organized by Masaryk University, was a collaborative meeting of all who in their practice, i.e. technologically, organizationally or legally, linguistically, psychologically or pedagogically, provide for the universal learning design at the university level for persons with special needs. The conference took place for the 3rd time after it was first held in 2011, and continued as a special topical section at ICCHP conference, Linz, Austria.
www.uld-conference.org

Practical use of Polygraf during the conference

The system Polygraf was used at the conference for visualizing spoken language of presentations in two rooms at the same time, in two different languages in one of the rooms – in Czech and English, as the whole conference was simultaneously interpreted from/to English - and in Czech in the other room where simultaneous interpretation from English was visualised. For this reason it was necessary to provide a public display of text transcripts on four large screens that displayed output of four iPod devices with installed Polygraf system. Polygraf was further was used to provide easy access to the presentation screen for sign interpreters, verbal translators and speech-to-text reporters on individual handheld devices using the new Polygraf function of screen mirroring.

Participants also had a chance to borrow an iPad device for an individual viewing of the text transcriptions in the language of their preference and presentation screen mirroring.

Presentation of the system Polygraf

The system Polygraf version 2 was introduced to an international audience for the first time as a conference paper given by Christoph Damm within the section Linguistic Competence of the Hearing Impaired and the Role of Sign Languages in Tertiary Education. Polygraf was also presented in the form of an exhibition stand in the vestibule where the participants had a chance to try it out and to borrow iPad handheld displays for an individual viewing of text transcriptions of conference presentations and presentation screen mirroring.



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Past occasions for presenting Polygraf v1

Universal Learning Design @ ICCHP 2012, Linz, Austria

11–13 July 2012

ICCHP is a series of biannual scientific conferences in the field of ICT/AT for people with disabilities run in co-operation with the Johannes Kepler University, Linz and the Austrian Computer Society. ICCHP provides a unique platform for end users, researchers, developers and practitioners including amongst others:

  • A scientific conference presenting and discussing reviewed papers (~50% acceptance rate) which will be published in SPRINGER Lecture Notes in Computer Science
  • Special Thematic Sessions organised, chaired and supervised for publishing by leading experts to provide a comprehensive overview to very specific aspects of eAccessibility and eInclusion
  • A special track on Universal Learning Design organised by colleagues from the Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic
  • A Young Researchers Consortium to support the formation of the next generation of experts in eAccessibility and eInclusion
  • A Summer University for young blind students intending to enter math, science and engineering studies
  • A programming competition final “Project Possibility”
  • A pre-conference including major German spoken events, Workshops/Tutorials and Meetings
  • Space for Exhibition and Poster Presentations
  • The ICCHP Roland Wagner Award sponsored by the Austrian Computer Society
  • An agreeable Social Programme for networking and enjoyment

www.icchp.org

Practical use of Polygraf during the conference

The system Polygraf was used at the conference for visualizing text transcriptions of presenters' spoken contributions. Polygraf provided a public display of text transcriptions on a large LCD via a single iPod device having Polygraf installed during the topical section ULD and all keynotes of the main ICCHP program, Conference participants had a possibility to borrow an iPad for an individual viewing of the text transcriptions.

Presenting the system Polygraf

Polygraf was presented in the form of an exhibition stand in the vestibule where the participants had a chance to practically examine it and to borrow iPad hand-held displays for an individual viewing of text transcriptions of conference presentations.

ECOS 2012 – European Congress of Speech-to-text-reporters, Ermelo, Netherlands

24–26 August 2012

ECOS is a congress organised by members of the NSV (the Dutch speech-to-text-association) for speech-to-text-reporters from as many countries as possible. The ECOS congress took place on 24–26 August 2012 in Ermelo.
www.ecos2012.nl

Presenting the system Polygraf

Polygraf was presented in the form of a workshop presented by Petr Peňáz and Christoph Damm.

12th conference INSPO 2012, Prague, Czech Republic

17 March 2012

The conference INSPO – Internet and Information Systems for Persons with Special Needs is focused on the use of the Internet and information technologies in favour of persons with disabilities.
www.helpnet.cz/inspo

Practical use of Polygraf during the conference

The system Polygraf was used at the conference for visualizing text transcriptions of presenters' spoken contributions. Polygraf provided a public display of text transcriptions on a projection screen via a single iPod device, and conference participants had a possibility to borrow an iPad for an individual viewing of the text transcriptions.

Presenting the system Polygraf

Polygraf was presented in the form of an exhibition stand in the vestibule where the participants had a chance to practically examine it and to borrow iPad hand-held displays for an individual viewing of text transcriptions of conference presentations.

11th conference INSPO 2011, Prague, Czech Republic

19 March 2011



The conference INSPO – Internet and Information Systems for Persons with Special Needs is focused on the use of the Internet and information technologies in favour of persons with a health impairment. The conference INSPO is organized by BMI, AISO and Křižovatka.cz. These associations have continued to organize the conference after the project March – the month of the Internet ended in 2008. The first eight years of the conference INSPO took place as a part of the project.
www.helpnet.cz/inspo

Practical use of Polygraf during the conference

The system Polygraf was used at the conference for visualizing text transcriptions of presenters' spoken contributions. Polygraf provided a public display of text transcriptions on a projection screen via a single iPod device, and conference participants had a possibility to borrow an iPad for an individual viewing of the text transcriptions.

Presenting the system Polygraf

The system Polygraf was introduced in a presentation given by Jiří Tužil within the conference section Information and Communication Technologies for the Deaf. Further, Polygraf was presented in the form of an exhibition stand in the vestibule where the participants had a chance to practically examine it and to borrow iPad hand-held displays for an individual viewing of text transcriptions of conference presentations.

International conference Universal Learning Design 2011, Brno, Czech Republic

8–11 February 2011



The international conference Universal Learning Design, organized by Masaryk University on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Support Centre for Students with Special Needs, was a collaborative meeting of all who in their practice, i.e. technologically, organizationally or legally, linguistically, psychologically or pedagogically, provide for the universal learning design at the university level for persons with special needs.
www.uld-conference.org

Practical use of Polygraf during the conference

The system Polygraf was used at the conference for visualizing spoken presentations in two rooms at the same time, in two different languages in each of the rooms – in Czech and English (the whole conference was simultaneously translated from/to English). For this reason it was necessary to provide a public display of text transcriptions on four large screens via four iPod devices. Participants also had a chance to borrow an iPad device for an individual viewing of the text transcriptions in the language of their preference.

Presentation of the system Polygraf

The system Polygraf was introduced to an international audience for the first time as a conference presentation given by Jiří Tužil within the section Linguistic Competence of the Hearing Impaired and the Role of Sign Languages in Tertiary Education. Besides, it was presented individually to several speech-to-text reporters and other conference participants.



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Last updated: 14. 2. 2014

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