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Note-Taking Made Easy For Students with Visual Impairments

For many students with visual impairments, and particularly those who are legally blind, it is difficult to switch focus between the notebook and the board. A team of students from the Center for Cognitive Ubiquitous Computing created a device to help low-vision students take notes and watch the lecture at the same time, a feat that has won the top prize in the U.S. finals of the Microsoft Imagine Cup.

Team leader David Hayden, legally blind himself, is the inventor and team captain for the Team Note-Taker at Arizona State University in Tempe. The Team Note-Taker is a portable device about the size of a milk carton with a camera on it. The user of this device can adjust where the camera looks and plug it into a laptop computer, which will display a split-screen interface. On half of the screen, there is a digital notepad for taking handwritten or typed notes, and in the other half is live video of the board. To control where the camera is zoomed in or where it’s pointing, just use the basic controls and tap any point on the image and it’ll center on that or drag and click on any feature in the image.

The Note-Taker simultaneously records the video and the audio on the computer. As a result, this records the time taken for every keystroke or pen stroke. Most importantly, it allows the storage of the notes written on the notepad and the audio and video files to be all together.

A video of the Note-Taker can be viewed at: Science Friday

For the full article or to listen to the story on NPR: Note-Taking Made Easy


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