Seminars & Colloquia

Richard Ladner

Computer Science & Engineering, University of Washington

"New Directions in Accessible Computing"

Monday September 21, 2009 04:00 PM
Location: 3211, EB2 NCSU Centennial Campus
(Visitor parking instructions)

This talk is part of the Triangle Computer Science Distinguished Lecturer Series



Accessible computing refers to software and hardware solutions that make computers and other aspects of life more accessible to persons with disabilities. Many technologies specifically designed for persons with disabilities become mainstream technologies. Examples include personal texting that was designed for deaf people to communicate over phone lines, optical character recognition that was designed so that blind people could read books, and speech recognition that was designed for people, who are unable to use a keyboard, to speak to a computer instead. In this talk, new directions in accessible computing will be described. The new directions assume that persons with disabilities can create or configure their own accessibility solutions. This non- paternalistic approach respects the ability of persons with disabilities to determine their own destinies. Accessibility research, done at the University of Washington and elsewhere, that follows this model will be described. One example is the ASL-STEM Forum, a social networking site where deaf students and scientists can share signs for scientific terms and discuss them. Another example is the MobileAccessibility project where blind people can download applications to their cell phones that provide an accessibility feature such as using the camera to capture a barcode and give the name of the product.

Short Bio:

Richard E. Ladner, Boeing Professor in Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Washington, received a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of California, Berkeley in 1971, at which time he joined the faculty of the University of Washington. In addition to his primary appointment, he is an Adjunct Professor in the Departments of Electrical Engineering and Linguistics. His current research interests include accessible computing, especially technology for deaf, blind, and deaf-blind people. His prior research career was in theoretical computer science. He is also currently leading education and outreach projects for students with disabilities. He was a Guggenheim Fellow and a Fulbright Scholar. He is an ACM Fellow and IEEE Fellow. He is a recipient of the 2004 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM). He is the recipient of the 2008 Computing Research Association's A. Nico Habermann Award. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of Gallaudet University in Washington D.C., the only liberal arts university serving deaf people in the world. 

NOTE: Click on WebAnywhere for the home page of the screen reader.  For its demo, click  here. Click on MobileASL for the home page of the video compression project. For its demo, click here. The first video below renders this talk without captions. The making of a video version with captions is in progress and will be posted when available.

To access the video of this talk, click here.

Host: Matt Stallmann, Computer Science, NCSU

Media Files:
No media files available at this time

Video Presentation: Host is responsible for requesting video recording by filling out this Web form. For other technical issues, contact us at

Back to Seminar Listings
Back to Colloquia Home Page