Assistive Technologies in Music

02 Nov
Wednesday, 11/02/2016 3:15pm to 4:15pm
Computer ScienceBuilding, Room 151
Special Event
Speaker: Marcus Roberts

Marcus Roberts, acclaimed jazz pianist and composer and blind since age five, will speak on assistive technologies available for the blind. Roberts uses a combination of software and a laptop-like device to write music and run his business, and is interested in promoting research in the area of assistive technologies. During this lecture-demonstration he will project from his device/laptop to a screen so that students can directly see how he works with his device. He will also connect to speakers so that students can hear how the device communicates with him aurally. This will be an in-person, real world example of human-machine interaction and another angle on specific needs that that can be supported by technology.

"The device that Roberts uses is the Braille Sense U2 and the Braille Sense U2 mini. They both do the same thing but the mini is a couple thousand dollars cheaper. He uses that for traveling. The device is made by HIMS, Inc.  There are various versions of these Braille Notetakers sold by different companies. All are expensive but invaluable tools for functioning in the modern world.

"In terms of software, Roberts uses JAWS (screen reader) every day. This allows him to use Microsoft Word, Outlook, and Excel with special voice integration. He uses software to allow him to compose on the computer - he uses Sonar 8.8 with a special integration software called "Caketalking".  There is other Braille music software available, sold by a company called Dancing Dots.

"Other devices that are made for people with disabilities that are very valuable are the Victor Reader Stream (by Humanware) and the Olympus LS-14 (which Marcus uses to study music and record rehearsals and shows). It has voice-guided controls."

Faculty Host
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