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TopOCR's Accessible User Interface for Document Cameras!

TopOCR's Accessibile User Interface has been designed for people with a wide range of visual impairment. The Accessible Interface has no reliance upon visual feedback, nor any reliance upon GUI controls that require visual feedback. The Accessible Interface is based on a keyboard command system that uses the easy to locate Function keys on the top row of a standard keyboard. Each Accessible Command is just a single key press. Each command also supplies audio feedback when pressed.

It also doesn't require visual feedback to launch the TopOCR application.
After you install TopOCR, you can launch TopOCR straight from the Windows DeskTop and put it in Accessible Mode in a simple 2 step process shown below:

1. Type "Cntrl-Alt-Q" to launch TopOCR
2. Type "Control-Q" to put TopOCR into Accessible Mode/ or back to GUI mode

The Three Basic Command To Use TopOCR

F1 key to scan, OCR and speak the output to you
F2 key to pause or resume the Text To Speech
F12 key to exit the program (and optionally turn off your PC)

TopOCR Reader Accessible User Interface Function Keys


Here is a complete description of all of the Accessible Function Keys:

Esc - SeeHear Visual Translator 2.0 - announce a list of objects recognized in a webcam image
F1 - Scan an image, OCR the image, and read the OCR Output
F2 - Pause/Resume Text To Speech reading
F3 - Save the OCR text output as an MP3 audio file and copy it to an MP3 player or save it as text and copy it to a flash drive
F4 - Turn ON/OFF Super Resolution mode, - default is OFF
F5 - Select Operating Mode - Standard Mode, Straighten Columns Mode, Neural Warp Mode or Turbo Mode - default is Standard Mode
F6 - Select Document Camera or WebCam - Default if only 1 camera is present
F7 - Select Capture Delay Timer for Image Capture - Default is 10 seconds
F8 - Select Language for OCR and Speech - Default is English
F9 - Select between TAO OCR and LSTM OCR for recognition
F10 - Select Volume - select the volume of the voice
F11 - Audio and Screen Help Information
F12 - Exit TopOCR (and optionally shutdown PC)

TopOCR's Control Keys

The TopOCR Accessible User Interface also uses 5 easy to locate (Control+QWERT) top level control keys that are described below:

Control-Q - switch between the Accessible User Interface mode and the standard Windows GUI mode - the default is the standard Windows GUI mode.

Control-W - turn ON/OFF "Debug Mode" (before OCR text is spoken - announce number of spelling errors) - default is OFF.

Control-E - list all of the installed languages for TAO OCR.

Control-R - change the format of the saved OCR text output as either an MP3 audio or raw text file.

Control-T - change Exit TopOCR F12 key function (exit application only or exit application and shutdown PC - the default is exit application only).

TopOCR's Scroll Control Keys

TopOCR also has four keys to allow you to scroll a displayed image.

Down Arrow - Scroll the currently displayed image downward
Up Arrow - Scroll the currently displayed image upward
Left Arrow - Scroll the currently displayed image to the left
Right Arrow - Scroll the currently displayed image to the right

TopOCR's Text To Speech System with Multiple Voices

Please note that TopOCR is configured by default to be a US English system and so does have a dependency on a US English MS Speech voice being available in order to use the TTS system. If you are operating on a version of Windows on any location other than US English, then you will need to download the MicroSoft Speech US English voice and optionally any additional voices you may require. Please go to our Voices page for more information.

TopOCR Installation

After you double-click on the TopOCR installation file there are 3 steps to complete the installation:

  1. Select "Yes" to allow User Account Control to install the program
  2. Press "Enter" to begin installation
  3. Press "Enter" to finish installation

TopOCR Configuration

Once you've installed TopOCR on your PC then you're ready to configure it for use with your document camera. This generally only needs to be done once and takes just a few seconds to complete.

1. Plug your document camera into a USB 2.0 port on your PC.
2. Launch the TopOCR application by typing Ctrl+Alt+Q from the DeskTop Window.
3. Type "Control-Q" to put TopOCR into Accessible Mode.
4. TopOCR's default language is English, if you want to use the Accessibile User Interface with another language, then use the F8 key to select another language.
5. If you have a PC with more than one webcam/document camera, use the F6 key to select the correct document camera.

TopOCR's configuration, like its operation is 100% Accessible, there are no on screen dialogs, menus, or buttons that would require the use of an external screen reader. All functions are handled through the keyboard.

Simple Hacks

Apply a small piece of tape to the top of TopOCR Reader to mark the location of the LED on/off switch so it is accessible by touch.
Use tape markers to mark the outline of the document camera on the image capture mat and the image capture border area.
This will allow you to properly align your document with document camera by only using touch feedback.

TopOCR and the Clipboard

After OCR, TopOCR automatically places the recognized text in the clipboard, and it also allows you to paste images with "Control-V" into the clipboard and have them automatically read to you. A "quick and dirty" screen reader can be easily implemented in TopOCR's Accessible User Interface by typing "Ctrl + Alt + Print Screen" and then typing "Control V" in TopOCR.

TopOCR Global Illumination Check

Whenever you press the F1 key to OCR a document, TopOCR will measure the total amount of available light on the scanned image. If this value is too low then TopOCR will give you a text to speech warning and will also provide you with the global illumination value. If this number is very low, below 10 for instance, it means that there is very little illumination. Please note that if you have a dark background and a small text image, it can give a lower than expected value, and as a result may generate a false warning.

TopOCR Keyboard Shortcut

When you install TopOCR it automatically creates a keyboard shortcut. Pressing the Ctrl+Alt+Q key combination will launch TopOCR from the DeskTop. If you want to change the TopOCR keyboard shortcut key to another letter, you can by using the following procedure:

1. Right-click on the DeskTop TopOCR shortcut, and then click Properties
2. In the Shortcut Properties dialog box, click the Shortcut tab
3. Click in the Shortcut key box, press the key on your keyboard that you want to use in combination with Ctrl+Alt, for instance "G" and then click OK.

After this step has been performed, pressing Ctrl+Alt+G key combination will launch TopOCR from the DeskTop.

TopOCR's MP3 File Creation

The MP3 creation command initiates a procedure that automatically converts the OCR text output into MP3 audio AND writes MP3 files to the root directory of an MP3 player using an auto-incrementing naming system of Page 1, Page2, Page3...Page9999. As a result, you don't need a screen reader to navigate a file save dialog and respond to multiple GUI controls to save your OCR output like you would with a standard Windows application. Instead, we replace all of that with just a single key press (F3) that does everything for you automatically and even tells you when it's done!!

SeeHear Visual Translator (Version 2.0)

The SeeHear Visual Translator is a Deep Convolutional Neural Network that can recognize 80 different types of objects based on the COCO (Common Objects in Context) Image DataBase. When you press the SeeHear function key Esc, it will announce to you through TopOCR's Text To Speech System a list of up to 5 objects that it has recognized in a frame captured from your webcam.

SeeHear 106 Layer Deep Fully Convolutional Neural Network

  1. arbitrary resolution RGB webcam image is automatically scaled to Neural Network input layer
  2. 106 deep fully convolutional layers that make connections at 3 different scales
  3. 5 down sampling layers
  4. non-linear down-sampling layer
  5. multilabel classification
  6. recognition output is automatically converted to Text To Speech and played on your headset

SeeHear's Deep Convolutional Neural Network requires over 27 billion floating point calculations to process the full network pipeline with all 106 layers. This neural network can perform object recognition on a VGA sized(640x480) webcam image using a 4-core Intel 3.4GHz i7-6700 (CPU only) at a rate of about 8 frames per second!. This function is multi-threaded and will take advantage of multi-core systems.

Before you use SeeHear, make sure you have a webcam with a resolution of 640x480 or greater attached to your PC!

To use SeeHear, first, press the F6 key to select the appropriate webcam (or skip this step if there is only one camera attached), then point your webcam at any scene you want to recognize, and then press the Esc key. Then you will hear a list of recognized objects spoken to you through TopOCR's Text To Speech interface. If you want to return to document scanning, then press the F6 key and select your document camera instead of your webcam, or you can press the Esc key again to recognize another frame from your webcam.

A recommended platform to use with SeeHear would be a notebook PC running Windows 10 in the $299 to $599 price range with a built-in webcam and HDMI port.