Sight Tech Global In Person Agenda, December 9

Sight Tech Global In Person Event

In Person Event Agenda

8:00 – 9:00

Doors open. Registration. Coffee

9:00 – 9:10
Main Stage


John Glass, Vista Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired
Karae Lisle, Vista Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired

9:10 – 9:15
Main Stage

The Day Ahead

Ned Desmond, Sight Tech Global

9:15 – 9:55
Main Stage

Smith-Kettlewell’s Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC) on Blindness and Low Vision

Dr. James Coughlan, Smith-Kettlewell

Description: The San Francisco-based Smith Kettlewell Skeri Eye Research Institute is one of the world’s most important vision research centers in the world. Dr. Coughlan runs his own lab at the Institute with a focus on developing and testing assistive technology for blind and visually impaired persons that is enabled by computer vision and other sensor technologies. He will keynote on the recent effort to renew the RERC program.

10:00 – 10:40
Workshop A

APH: Reshaping the Future of Braille

Greg Stilson, APH
Colin Ratchford, APH

Description: APH and HumanWare have come together to build a smart tablet that will profoundly impact the education and careers of braille readers. Through innovative technology from DOT Inc., and collaboration with braille professionals, the Dynamic Tactile Device (DTD) will render multiple lines of braille and tactile graphics on the same tactile surface, creating a new learning and working experience for braille readers. In this workshop, Greg Stilson of APH will outline the technological innovations that are enabling the leaps forward in access to math, science, and engineering content for students and professionals who read braille. Additionally, Greg Stilson will lead a discussion on the foundations of the applications that will drive the DTD and encourage attendees to share insights to maximize the device’s benefits.

10:00 – 10:40
Workshop B

AI-Enabled Hiring Technologies: Obstacles and Opportunities

Bill Curtis-Davidson, PEAT
Alexa Huth, PEAT

Description: Artificial intelligence (AI) enabled hiring tools are popular, but they can unintentionally create barriers to employment for people with disabilities. In this workshop, we will discuss how to reduce these barriers and share ways AI-enabled tools designed with disability inclusion in mind can be used to attract skilled job seekers with disabilities. We will invite participants with disabilities to share their lived experience with hiring technologies to identify areas for improvement and use PEAT’s AI and inclusive hiring resources as a discussion guide.

10:40 – 11:00

Break and Coffee

11:00 – 11:40
Workshop A

DOT: Enhancing blind accessibilities through a dynamic tactile display

Eric Ju Yoon Kim, DOT
Ki Kwang Sung, PEAT

Description: Using the DOT Dynamic tactile display, we discuss the potential for dramatic enhancements of blind accessibilities in education, job productivity, entertainment, and metaverse.

11:00 – 11:40
Workshop B

The Future of the Job Search

Sam Proulx, Fable

Description: How do AI, automation and remote interviewing affect the hiring of blind and visually impaired applicants? Natural language processing, sentiment analysis, and other AI technologies pose a serious potential of exclusion for people with disabilities. According to Ability Magazine, “researchers have found that assessing facial movement and voice in applications may massively discriminate against many people with disabilities that significantly affect facial expression and voice: disabilities such as deafness, blindness, speech disorders, and surviving a stroke.Using Fable’s experience with inclusive recruiting and hiring practices, its research with Fable’s community of assistive technology users, and hands-on experimentation with candidate evaluation tools, Sam will outline the current state of the field, challenge assumptions, and suggest that the future of hiring might look like for those of us who are blind.

11:45 – 12:30
Main Stage

The Frontiers of Accessibility

Mike May, GoodMaps
Jim Fruchterman, TechMatters

JIm Fruchterman and Mike May are two giants of accessibility. Among Jim’s many achievements are the creation of Benetech and its fantastically successful Bookshare program. Mike May created the first accessible GPS for the blind and founded the Sendero Group to make location information and other products accessible worldwide. Few technology leaders have a better first-hand perspective on the arc of modern assistive technology, and their conversation will be epic.

12:30 – 1:30

Lunch Reception

1:30 – 2:10
Workshop A

Humanware: Augmenting Access to the IoT with HumanWare AT

Dr. Louis-Philippe Massé, Humanware
Peter Tucic, Humanware

Description: This workshop will shed light on how HumanWare is using machine and deep learning technologies to provide access to the connected world. Participants will look at currently available devices, as well as where we are heading in the future thanks to a visionary ecosystem comprised of both mainstream and Assistive technologies. Attendees will more closely examine everyday tasks ranging from receiving turn-by-turn instructions or performing OCR at a distance, to identifying obstacles or using wearable technology to better interact with the world beyond ones field of vision.

1:30 – 2:10
Workshop B

SVG: Drawing with Code 

Marco Salsiccia, Lyft

Description: I am a blind Accessibility Specialist and former animator/VFX artist who learned how to digitally draw and create art again using Scalable Vector Graphics, or SVG. Pairing up with Chancey Fleet and her Dimensions Tactile graphics lab and NYPL Tech Workshops, we were able to start up an SVG study group to help teach other blind and visually impaired creators how to code with the goal of embossing and printing tactile art or projects. I will go over his journey, from learning about physical tactile drawing techniques to writing up a detailed study guide while also imparting artistic drawing techniques and concepts. Come check out and feel tactile art examples and learn about the practical applications of using SVG beyond art, such as creating circuit schematics, architectural drawings, charts and graphs, website and design wireframes, and more.

2:15 – 3:00
Workshop A

Seleste: First Generation Smart Glasses

Shubh Mittal, Seleste

Description: We want to improve the ease of use of other apps for people with vision loss. Apps like BME, Aira, Seeing AI, Soundscape, GoodMaps, etc can all be improved if they were on a pair of wearables. We hope to form a community around an affordable platform to help the vision loss community.

2:15 – 3:00
Workshop B

Tactile Maps for All

Roberto Manduchi, UC Santa Cruz
James Coughlan, Smith-Kettlewell

Description: In this workshop, we will discuss the current state of the art in the production of  tactile maps of outdoor and indoor environments, and will highlight some new developments that can make tactile maps easier to explore and to author. Tactile map production was “democratized” by the TMAP (Tactile Maps Automated Production) service, which allows anyone to produce custom tactile maps on demand. TMAP sources data from a geographical information system (OpenStreetMap) and automatically generates an outdoor map of any desired urban area. For indoor maps, the SIM (Semantic Information Mapology) web app allows one to easily trace a floor plan, and to create a tactile map at the desired scale. While tactile maps can convey spatial map information to a person who is blind, they can fit only a limited amount of information (e.g., there may be room to represent streets but not necessarily buildings), and text labels such street names can only be accessed by people who read Braille. The CamIO smartphone app adds audio labels to TMAPs, such as street names, which are triggered simply by pointing at a feature on the map. The app accomplishes this by using the smartphone camera to see where the user is pointing on the map. We will provide a live demonstration of CamIO with a TMAP, and sample indoor maps of the San Jose Vista Center generated by SIM.

3:05 – 3:45
Main Stage

 (Canceled) Preparing the next generation of BVI STEM professionals

Josh Miele and friends

(This event was canceled.) This scrappy panel discussion will offer diverse insights into how we are (and are not) preparing blind and visually-impaired K-12 and university students to participate as equals in technical careers – science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Josh Miele, accessibility researcher and founder of the Blind Arduino Project, will moderate a lively discussion among a panel of leaders who are actively engaged in creative efforts to support STEM learning and career paths for BVI students.

3:45 – 3:50
Main Stage

Thank You!

Alice Turner, Vista Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired


Watch all recorder Sight Tech Global sessions from the 2023 event held on December 6th and 7th.