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  1. Tactile maps are important tools for people with visual impairments (VIs). Teachers and orientation and mobility (O&M) specialists often design tactile maps to help their VI students and clients learn about geographic areas. To design these maps, a designer must use modeling software applications, which require professional training and rely on visual feedback. However, most teachers and O&M specialists do not have professional modeling skills, and many have visual impairments. The complexity and inaccessibility of current modeling tools thus become major barriers for TVIs and O&M specialists when designing tactile maps. We present Molder, an accessible design tool for tactilemore »maps. A designer creates a draft map model using Molder and prints the model. Then, she uses Molder to modify the draft model by directly interacting with it. Molder provides auditory feedback and high-contrast visuals to assist the designer in the design process.« less
  2. Systems that augment sensory abilities are increasingly employing AI and machine learning (ML) approaches, with applications ranging from object recognition and scene description tools for blind users to sound awareness tools for d/Deaf users. However, unlike many other AI-enabled technologies these systems provide information that is already available to non-disabled people. In this paper, we discuss unique AI fairness challenges that arise in this context, including accessibility issues with data and models, ethical implications in deciding what sensory information to convey to the user, and privacy concerns both for the primary user and for others.
  3. Walking in environments with stairs and curbs is potentially dangerous for people with low vision. We sought to understand what challenges low vision people face and what strategies and tools they use when navigating such surface level changes. Using contextual inquiry, we interviewed and observed 14 low vision participants as they completed navigation tasks in two buildings and through two city blocks. The tasks involved walking in- and outdoors, across four staircases and two city blocks. We found that surface level changes were a source of uncertainty and even fear for all participants. Besides the white cane that many participantsmore »did not want to use, participants did not use technology in the study. Participants mostly used their vision, which was exhausting and sometimes deceptive. Our findings highlight the need for systems that support surface level changes and other depth-perception tasks; they should consider low vision people's distinct experiences from blind people, their sensitivity to different lighting conditions, and leverage visual enhancements.« less
  4. Abstract We present a search for continuous gravitational-wave emission due to r-modes in the pulsar PSR J0537–6910 using data from the LIGO–Virgo Collaboration observing run O3. PSR J0537–6910 is a young energetic X-ray pulsar and is the most frequent glitcher known. The inter-glitch braking index of the pulsar suggests that gravitational-wave emission due to r-mode oscillations may play an important role in the spin evolution of this pulsar. Theoretical models confirm this possibility and predict emission at a level that can be probed by ground-based detectors. In order to explore this scenario, we search for r-mode emission in the epochsmore »between glitches by using a contemporaneous timing ephemeris obtained from NICER data. We do not detect any signals in the theoretically expected band of 86–97 Hz, and report upper limits on the amplitude of the gravitational waves. Our results improve on previous amplitude upper limits from r-modes in J0537-6910 by a factor of up to 3 and place stringent constraints on theoretical models for r-mode-driven spin-down in PSR J0537–6910, especially for higher frequencies at which our results reach below the spin-down limit defined by energy conservation.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 1, 2022
  5. Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 1, 2022
  6. Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 1, 2022