Students Help Make New Rehab Engineering Textbook Accessible

Dr. Roger Smith and Dr. Alex Mihailidis are the co-editors of a new rehab engineering textbook, titled “Fundamentals of Anatomy and Physiology for Rehabilitation Engineers and Assistive Technology Specialists”. The textbook features the history of rehab engineering and introduces the reader to the new developments in the world of rehab engineering technology. Alongside Dr. Smith, students at UW-Milwaukee in the R₂D₂ Center worked for several weeks to develop equivalent text descriptions (EqTD’s) for the visual content in the textbook. EqTD’s are text descriptions embedded in online documents and files that describe visual content, such as graphs, photographs, images, and charts using text. These EqTD’s, which include a brief description, an essential description, and a detailed description, provide those who are blind or visually impaired with access to a text description of the visual content on the page that they may have otherwise missed. Student researchers in the R₂D₂ center were trained on how to write the EqTD’s and collectively created one for every single image and visual within the textbook. This work will ensure that the textbook is more accessible to engineering students and assistive technology specialists, specifically those with visual impairments.