Lambda aims at solving the problem of mathematics text management by blind users of secondary schools and universities, as well as that of fruition of science texts, in digital formats and through Braille print. These problems are still unsolved and much felt by these people. The system is based on a linear (textual and sequential) maths code, directly derived from MathML of W3C, and can interface with this standard. The chief difference among these codes relies on formatting texts and representing markers, studied in such a way as to be more easily managed and readable through the specific peripherals used by the blind. A editor will be developed, including a series of tools aimed to ease and speed up entry and change of maths texts and to help understand both structure and internal relations of formulas. It will allow to import and export texts in the most popular formats (MathML as an interchange code) and print both conventionally and in Braille.
DESCRIPTION OF WORK
Lambda is structured into two main sections, which are clearly differing, though strongly related to each other: defining the maths code and developing the editor. The stages will be carried out simultaneously and autonomously by two workgroups coordinated by a scientific committee that also includes experts in teaching. To define the code, the contribution of national users' associations (being represented in the project team) will be essential. The project will have to ensure efficiency and coherence with MathML and it will have to be connected directly and functionally to the various Braille maths codes in use in each single country. Throughout the 3 years of the project duration, the work section dedicated to software development will be so structured as to achieve a complete product, to be marketed in all involved countries and interfaced with the peripherals and management environments most commonly used by the blind in Europe. Teaching aspects will be especially significant.
Wp2 includes study and analysis of the state of the art and users' needs. In this stage, collecting existing material and any single expertise achieved in the field will be essential.
WP3 will dedicate to defining the Lambda linear code, as an adaptation of MathML. It will be developed in various stages throughout the project duration and will have to lead to a basic single code and its various national releases. The releases will differ in language and also any possible adaptation to the Braille code in use in any single country.
WP4 analysing and defining the program functional specifications.
WP5 will be focused on development of the maths editor.
WP6 consists of filing examples from maths texts taken from Europe's most common school and university books.
Wp7 is dedicated to system validation(both code and editor)
WP8 includes the aspects related to disseminating the package, preparing the product for the market and assistance network.
The project aims at achieving a complete product providing:
an effective and shared system for PC maths notation to be used by Eu blind people;
an effective and functional teaching approach, which should also allow to exploit the educational potentials IT offers to the blind.
Besides standardisation outwards through MathML adoption, the project also wants to improve standardisation in the languages most products for the blind use, and to define a single maths 8-dot Braille code.