“McSig” is a multimodal, teaching and learning environment for visually-impaired students to learn character shapes, handwriting and signatures collaboratively with their teachers. It combines haptic and audio output to realize the teacher’s pen input in parallel non-visual modalities. McSig is intended for teaching visually-impaired children how to handwrite characters (and from that signatures), something that is very difficult without visual feedback. We conducted an evaluation with eight visually-impaired children with a pre-test to assess their current skills with a set of character shapes, a training phase using McSig and then a post-test of the same character shapes to see if there were any improvements. The children could all use McSig and we saw significant improvements in the character shapes drawn, particularly by the completely blind children (many of whom could draw almost none of the characters before the test). In particular, the blind participants all expressed enjoyment and excitement about the system and using a computer to learn to handwrite
Two recent McSig publications are
Plimmer, B., A. Crossan, et al. (2008). Multimodal collaborative handwriting training for visually-impaired people. Chi2008, Florence, Italy, ACM 393-402. video
Reid, P. and B. Plimmer (2008). A Collaborative Multimodal Handwriting Training Environment for Visually Impaired Students. OzCHI 2008, Cairns, ACM.