Funded Projects

ALAP: An Open-Source Project for Accessible LaTeX-based Authoring and Presentation of Mathematical Documents

Principal Investigator’s Organization (PIO):
Lahore University of Management Sciences
Principal Investigator (PI):
Dr. Asim Karim
Project Details:
Start Date 01-Nov-2016
Duration 28 Months
Budget Rs.12,525,099
Status On Going Project
Progress Report View Progress Report
Publications N/A
Thematic Area Other
Project Website
Executive Summary

Many documents contain mathematical notations that are generally not accessible to the blind and low vision person. In particular, there are no commonly-available and standard ways of accessible math authoring and presentation. Although several technologies have been proposed for accessible math, none of them are available in an integrated open-source software system. Popular text-to-speech software like JAWS and NVDA are incapable of reading math notations in documents. Thus, there continues to be a barrier between scientific discourse and persons with vision impairments (PVIs). As a result, very few PVIs pursue technical education beyond primary or middle school level. This state of affairs is even worse in Pakistan where PVIs who choose to study math subjects beyond middle school are denied in colleges and universities. Among the scientific community, LaTeX is the most popular authoring system for scientific and technical documents. LaTeX source files are usually converted to the PDF for presentation. However, PDF documents are not fully accessible; their math content cannot be read by PVIs. The two presentation methods that are accessible to the blind and low vision person are speech (audio feedback) and Braille notation (tactile feedback). Currently, no robust, integrated, and open-source (freely-available) software exists with these capabilities supporting accessible authoring, editing, sharing, and presentation. The primary purpose of this project is to develop ALAP, an integrated Accessible LaTeX-based Authoring and Presentation software for PVIs. ALAP will provide advanced math-to-speech capabilities and a foundation for math-to-Braille extension. base for. ALAP will be developed with open-source technologies to enable its widespread usability. The primary beneficiaries of this project are PVIs in general and those in Pakistan specifically, and educational and business organizations that deal with mathematical content.