1. Accessible BIOS

Update: See my blog post with the guy who’s writing the new audio driver into EDK2.

Some server motherboards include serial UART/I2C ports which can be used to manage a BIOS via serial. If this is possible, would it be able to attach to a braille display via an intermediary like a Rockchip/Pi SBC or Arduino compatible chip using BRLTTY and serial input from the motherboard? Maybe not as it appears to require a full Unicode terminal, which I have the suspicion that BRLTTY will not be able to automatically filter out the formatting characters.

I found one paper referencing the (in)accessibility of BIOS, specifically UEFI BIOS from Brazil. I have downloaded the paper and uploaded it here for reference. PDF of “UEFI BIOS Accessibility for the Visually Impaired”.

After emailing the authors of the paper, I found out that one of them, Rafael Machado, was able to get a song playing in UEFI as a part of his masters. Here is a link to the Github Msc UEFI PreOS Accessibility; he has links to YouTube videos where he is shown playing a song on an ASUS laptop with PCIe connected speakers: Song Playing in UEFI

I have downloaded and played around with his Github project but to no avail. Either I am not setting it up correctly, or I do not have the proper sound setup, but in any case no sound plays from either my laptop or desktop.

This requires more research and investment to understand UEFI, HDA audio, what systems have it and how to work with words and other sounds.

2. Terminal-oriented browser

Use selenium to allow a cross-engine compatible terminal-browser with JS support. Yes, sure, it has all the bloat of the modern web as it uses the full code of Chrome/Firefox/Webkit—but at least it can be used in the terminal. Guaranteed to be accessible.

I’m thinking of similar key commands to Orca/NVDA but output is send to the terminal. Unsure of how to handle aria-live regions, but perhaps a queue could be used to print text. Unsure how to calculate delay as the user may be using a screen reader at different speeds and/or a braille display.

Change backend on-the-fly with a page reload. So if a website doesn’t work with Webkit, load it in Firefox with a key command.

Just an idea.

3. 3d printing of Google Maps/OpenStreetMaps data for the visually impaired.

A larger project, to be sure, but one I think could be of interest. Imagine being able to download some data from Google or OpenStrretMaps, then put it into a program and have it generate a 3d map which can be printed. Unsure what to do, as the braille overlay on top of the streets and important buildings, etc. needs to be of a uniform size (braille cannot be scaled) but the buildings, streets, and parks do need to be scaled in size.

I think for beginning, forget the braille entirely and simply product a map. This can be done in the STL file format or some intermediary if that is easier. Roads will have a slight border on the side, parks will have a diamond texture, buildings will have slight rectangular borders (slightly wider than the roads), paths will be a thin line, and the label for the path will need to extend the thin line into a (rounded) rectangle with text on it.

Start with roads. Get a road, get it to generate the correct shape. Then add a border around the side. Then, add 4 more roads and figure out how to intersect them.

If it can be done on a display, it can be done in a file.

Start with that. Wow what a daunting project!

This is being worked on through the touch-mapper project. They do not, however, have labels yet.