Sunday December 8, 2019

Now Visually Impaired People Can Enjoy Memes with This New Tool

New tool to help visually impaired people enjoy memes

0
//
Blind people meme
Researchers have developed a method to automatically identify memes and apply pre-written templates to add descriptive alt text. Lifetime Stock

People with visual impairments often face difficulty to understand memes, but now researchers have developed a method to automatically identify memes and apply pre-written templates to add descriptive alt text, making them intelligible via existing assistive technologies.

The study was presented at the ACCESS conference in Pittsburgh, US.

Visually impaired people use social media like everyone else, often with the help of screen reader software. But that technology falls short when it encounters memes, which don’t include alternate text, or alt text, to describe what’s depicted in the image.

“Memes are images that are copied and then overlaid with slight variations of text. They are often humorous and convey a shared experience, but “if you’re blind, you miss that part of the conversation,” said study researcher Cole Gleason from Carnegie Mellon University in US.

Memes largely live within social media platforms that have barriers to adding alt text.

Twitter, for example, allows people to add alt text to their images, but that feature isn’t always easy to find. Of 9 million tweets the researchers examined, one million included images and, of those, just 0.1 per cent included alt text.

Memes- social media
Memes are largely ciculated within social media platforms. Pixabay

Researchers said that basic computer vision techniques make it possible to describe the images underlying each meme, whether it be a celebrity, a crying baby, a cartoon character or a scene such as a bus upended in a sinkhole.

Optical character recognition techniques are used to decipher the overlaid text, which can change with each iteration of the meme.

For each meme type, it’s only necessary to make one template describing the image, and the overlaid text can be added for each iteration of that meme.

But writing out what the meme is intended to convey proved difficult.

“It depended on the meme if the humor translated. Some of the visuals are more nuanced, and sometimes it’s explicit and you can just describe it,” Gleason said.

Memes
Memes are often humorous and convey a shared experience. Pixabay

The team also created a platform to translate memes into sound rather than text. Users search through a sound library and drag and drop elements into a template.

This system was made to translate existing memes and convey the sentiment through music and sound effects.

Also Read- Kinaesthetic Ability May Improve a Person’s Golf Game

“One of the reasons we tried the audio memes was because we thought alt text would kill the joke, but people still preferred the text because they’re so used to it,” Gleason said.

The researchers are currently working on related projects, including a browser extension for Twitter that attempts to add alt text for every image and could include a meme system.  (IANS)

Next Story

WhatsApp to Support “Call Waiting” Feature

Meanwhile, the latest WhatsApp beta update has brought three new options for dark mode on the app

0
WhatsApp
Call waiting is available in v2.19.352 stable (APK Mirror) and above of WhatsApp, and v2.19.128 (APK Mirror) of WhatsApp Business. Pixabay

Facebook-owned WhatsApp has become the latest Voice over Internet Protocol services provider to support call waiting feature even as the company has skipped adding call holding for now.

When you’re already talking on the phone and another person tries to call you, most phones and operators let you know that you’ve got a call waiting. Very few VOIP services support that, though, and WhatsApp wasn’t among them until now, Android Police reported on Friday.

Earlier, when somebody would try to call you on WhatsApp while you were already on the phone, they would hear it ring, but, no one would answer. The call would then get disconnected.

Call waiting is available in v2.19.352 stable (APK Mirror) and above of WhatsApp, and v2.19.128 (APK Mirror) of WhatsApp Business, the report added.

WhatsApp
Facebook-owned WhatsApp has become the latest Voice over Internet Protocol services provider to support call waiting feature even as the company has skipped adding call holding for now. Pixabay

Meanwhile, the latest WhatsApp beta update has brought three new options for dark mode on the app.

The light theme would offer a white background. Dark theme, as the name suggests, would enable dark mode on WhatsApp, according to WABetaInfo, a fan website that tracks WhatsApp updates.

ALSO READ: Uber Receives 3,045 Cases of Sexual Assault in U.S. in Year 2018

Another option, which is ‘Set by Battery Saver’, dark mode would be activated only when the smartphone’s battery level drops below a certain point. This third option is said to be available only for smartphones running on Android 9.0 or older. (IANS)