There's something I've needed to do for a while.
Libaudioverse is a massive digital signal processing project, and it is the nature of digital signal processing that much of the debugging process would go much more easily if I could examine data. But I can't because I'm blind and the tools to let blind people do so do not exist.
All we have at the moment are graphing calculators. Input an equation, output a graph. This is nearly useless for anything but high school mathematics. The real world is not made up of homework polynomials, nor are you finding where it crosses the y axis over and over.
Fixing it is time consuming. My plan was to take Libaudioverse as far as it can go without, then write the bare minimum for my personal use. This may have been useful to others, but it wouldn't have done much outside the specific domain of DSP. Also, documentation? What documentation?
But then I found out about the Holman Prize via my friend Chris Hofstader, who writes a prominent blog on accessibility. it's up to $25000 of funding.
Suddenly, producing useful, documented tools with convenient UIs for a whole variety of domains is on the table. Digital signal processing? Definitely. Machine learning. Economics. Weather data. The list goes on and on. We can't access any of these conveniently. It's not impossible, but no one has written the tools to do it. I don't know why this is--I suspect a general lack of funding for anything past the K-12 age group--but I have the chance. I want to take it.
You can help me by going to my 90-second video pitch and liking it, then sharing both the video and this blog post as widely as possible. The LightHouse for the Blind and Visually impaired in San Francisco is explicitly monitoring social media, and one way to win it is to have the most Youtube likes. If I can secure the funding, this project will have a nearly immediate and amazingly large impact on every blind person in STEM. If you aren't blind or in STEM, that's okay: you can still do both of these, and it may very well help a whole bunch of people who are.
The rest of this post goes into technical details, what I think I can do, and generally how I plan to do it if I win. Before putting on my scientist/programmer hat, let me just close by saying that this will be free and open source software. Using it will cost nothing, and anyone who knows programming and needs more functionality will be free to help add to it.