Evolving from xSonify: a new digital platform for sonorization
Instituto de Tecnologías en Detección y Astropartículas, CNEA-CONICET-UNSAM, Mendoza, Argentina
2 Universidad Tecnológica Nacional, Faculty Mendoza, Argentina
3 IAU Office of Astronomy for Development, South African Astronomical Observatory, South Africa
4 Universidad de Mendoza, Mendoza, Argentina
5 Universidad Tecnológica Nacional, Faculty Buenos Aires, Argentina
Published online: 1 February 2019
In general, Space Sciences data exploration is thought to be suitable for people who do not have Neurological Disorders (ND) that may impair reading (RI), and are not blind or visually impaired (BVI). Data exploration methods used in these fields are generally visual, and do not provide the accessibility to allow full participation of blind and visually impaired individuals in the field. This has been the case even after evidence that sound increases the sensitivity to events in data that would otherwise be undetected. A set of tools that guarantees a thorough data inspection, and assures the access to the same amount and quality of information to all, is useful for everyone.
The present project, devoted to design a new user centered software to produce audio-visual outputs from astrophysical data, integrates multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary astronomers, engineers, computer specialists, software designers, educators, disability specialists, bioengineers, neurobiologists, and sociologists, both blind and sighted, and addresses the topics of accessibility to astronomical data, The possibility of exploring the bibliographic databases (ADSABS, among others), creation of a new multimodal access prototype, creation of an accessible, user-centered (from back end to front end), human-computer interface suitable for collection, sonification and analysis of astrophysical data, and the efficiency, utility and effectiveness of the resource in different cultural environments and at different levels of expertise. In this contribution, we present the first results related to the creation and application of the techniques and tools proposed, taking into account that the focus of this research is on the knowledge in the field of physics and astrophysics, but can be scalable to other areas of human activity so that people with other learning styles can have "equal opportunities". Finally, this project is based on the premises of addressing the technical challenges in basic research to achieve the promised benefits of Big Data, which is of world-wide interest.
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2019
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