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When digital sound files are sent over the Internet and received
via these boxes, how will the boxes turn the sound into text for
Research into the ability to incorporate these alternate output
modes into inexpensive information appliances can result in more
accessible low-end browsers for every citizen, including blind and
deaf people. Incorporation of new access standards into digital
media formats (such as QuickTime, Active Video, and RealAudio) will
facilitate the ability of low-end browsers to display incorporated
access technologies. All of these research challenges can be
addressed in the short term (one to five years), except perhaps for
the need for a fully capable speech recognition technology, which,
after 20 or more years of effort, still requires many years to
approach the speed, accuracy, and other capabilities needed for use
by deaf people.
It has been the experience of those in the world of media access
that these design and research challenges are not complex
(certainly not as complex as the creation of the new media
themselves). When focused attention and resources are applied to
the problems, solutions are readily discovered, especially when
approached by consortia of public and private practitioners and
researchers. Early awareness and design-from-the-blueprint-stage
thinking obviate the need for expensive and inefficient retrofits
that are resisted by producers and consumers alike.
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