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Web App Brings the Internet to the Blind

The Internet is supposed to be the great equalizer. Race, color, creed, class, and physical handicap are supposed to of no impediment on the Web. Unfortunately, the blind face great obstacles in getting online, especially from public computers, like those in a library or Internet cafe. Screen reading software is rarely installed on these PCs, and portable options are often prohibitively expensive.

A new Web app from a graduate student at the University of Washington aims to help break down these barriers by bringing screen reading technology to any Web-connected computer. If the user can navigate, or have someone navigate, to they'll be able to launch an in-browser screen reader. The reader, called Web Anywhere, will work on any computer with any modern Web browser, such as Firefox or Internet Explorer 7.

The reader is still in early development and needs some tweaking, but it looks to be a potentially revolutionary tool for the blind. You can check out the video above for a demonstration of how the Web app works. It's nice to see someone using the powerful tools made available via the Web to build something that does more than let you share photos and 'poke' friends. [Source: Yahoo! News]

Tags: blind, btsnews, handicap, handicapped, screen reader, ScreenReader, web apps, WebApps