About the A4BD project

A4BD is an Erasmus+ project that aims to develop a database of astronomical objects and special software to enable the visually impaired to get in touch with the science of astronomy.

The database will include photographs of astronomical objects (planets, nebulae, galaxies, etc.) sorted according to their specific characteristics to allow analysis and their representation by special software for the visually impaired. The special software will convert astronomical images into sounds that will allow the user not only to study astronomy but to grasp the beauty of the astronomical image as he could not do visually.

In order to achieve this goal, the consortium will include institutions for the education of persons with disabilities who will contribute to their experience, while the University of Patras, as technical and project coordinator, will develop the special software.

You can download our brief information leaflet on the A4BD project here!

A4BD products

A4BD will have as its main technical products, a database of astronomical objects and software for converting astronomical images into sound.

The astronomical object database will contain classified astronomical images. The classification of the astronomical images will be analyzed and categorized in such a way as to identify their main visual components that will be transformed into sound signals and which will form the basis of the educational process for which the software will be used.

Astronomy-to-audio conversion software will be provided as freeware to the global educational community. Its tablet and touch screen operation will consist of interaction with touch-sensitive use. As the user touches the various parts of the astronomical image, different sounds will represent its shape, color and other basic elements.

A4BD impact

The impact of the project lies mainly on the integration of the visually impaired in a scientific field such as Astronomy, in which the sense of vision plays an important role. In the context of the project, the concept of integration refers to the following:

  • Equal opportunities in the education of astronomy science at basic level.
  • Equal opportunities for the perception of the universe and the inspiration that astronomy has been giving for thousands of years in art, philosophy and science.
  • Possibility to simultaneously study and enjoy astronomical images with friends and family as the software developed can be used simultaneously visually and aurally.

A4BD activities

The objectives of the project will be achieved through the following activities:

  • Three short-term educational events to be held at the headquarters of the Partner Coordinator, University of Patras.
  • Five educational exchanges of students and teachers in France, Spain, Latvia, Cyprus and Poland.
  • Two participations in innovation and technology exhibitions where the results of the project will be presented.
  • Three short curricula in Latvia, Cyprus and Poland.
  • A conference to disseminate the project’s results and technical works to the project’s themes.

A4BD benefits

Besides the direct beneficiaries, those who are visually impaired, the project will produce tools that special education professionals can use as aids in teaching science to the visually impaired.

A4BD Sustainability

Within the framework of the project, sustainable cooperation of all kinds will be established among all stakeholders to monitor and adapt the changes according to the needs of each sector, to facilitate transnational mobility between the sectors concerned and to provide transversal skills, as well as career guidance, career management skills and access to the labor market, thus improving the possibility of long-term employment.

A4BD project partners

University of Patras (project coordinator)

University of Patras (project coordinator)

Greece

Collège Emilien Adam de Villiers

Collège Emilien Adam de Villiers

France

Dla Dobra

Dla Dobra

Poland

Experimental High school of the University of Patras

Experimental High school of the University of Patras

Greece

Liepājas Neredzīgo biedrība

Liepājas Neredzīgo biedrība

Latvia

Special School for Children Red Cross

Special School for Children Red Cross

Cyprus

A4BD Intellectual Outputs

O1: Astronomical Objects Data Base

Intellectual Output 1 is the foundation of the next A4BD outputs. An enriched astronomical image data base is needed in order for the visual-to-oral software to be developed. The ontology for the DataBase will be based on key attributes of visual images and their correlated ke attributes in sound. Images will be selected and analyzed based on their suitability to be effectively converted into sounds. Images of all types of astronomical objects will be selected.

Duration: 01/09/2017 – 31/08/2018

O2: Software for aural interpretation of astronomical images

The software for aural interpretation of astronomical images will translate astronomical images into audible sounds in order for individuals who are vision impaired to be able to both understand and enjoy the science of astronomy. This will involve recognition of basic parameters of the astronomical objects of interest in the picture, separation from background sky and detection of their shape and color. The analyzed images will then be translated into audible sounds that will correspond to the visual information detected incorporating the three basic elements of human sounds perception that is pitch (related to frequency), loudness (related to intensity) and timbre (related to the qualitative elements of the sounds).

Duration: 01/02/2018 – 31/08/2019

O3: Remote observation website for disabled people

This output concerns the design and implementation of a website that can act as a portal for disabled people that wish to become virtual observers on a remote observatory. A disabled person (as well as anyone) can request an image through the website and after a few days it can be recorded as a digital image with one of the telescopes in our network. Then the image will become available to the person who requested it and simultaneously upload it on our digital platform, with free access to everyone. The website will allow disabled people who cannot access observatories at dark skies to become virtual astronomers from their own home.

Duration: 01/09/2018 – 31/08/2020

Learning, Teaching and Training Activities

Short-term joint staff training events (Adult Education)

  • C1: Kickoff meeting in Patras, Greece
    5-9 February 2018
  • C4: Mid-project evaluation meeting in Patras, Greece
    18-22 February 2019
  • C8: Final project closure meeting in Patras, Greece
    Planned for August 2020

Short-term exchanges of groups of pupils (School Education)

  • C2: La Réunion, France
    10-14 September 2018
  • C3: Sanlúcar, Spain
    10-14 December 2018
  • C5: Latvia
    Planned for September 2019
  • C6: Cyprus
    Planned for January 2020
  • C7: Poland
    Planned for July 2020

Multiplier Events

E1 & E2: Expo Participations

Participation in annual science and technology exhibition of Patras called “PatrasIQ”. E1 took place in April 2019 and E2 is planned for April 2020.

E4, E5 & E6: Training Curricula

Three training curricula will be organized providing training of teachers on digital tools together with evaluation and testing.

The training will be organized by project partners in Latvia, Poland and Cyprus.

E3: Closing Conference

A4BD project will close with an international conference that will (a) promote project achievements, (b) enhance their exploitation potential, (c) kick start a community of teachers dealing with special needs or visually impaired people and (d) create awareness on the issue.
The conference will be hosted by the University of Patras and all partners will be represented and will also invite national stakeholders. Special workshops regarding the exploitation of specific project outcomes will be included in the conference. The outcome of the conference will be published.

A4BD Project news

A4BD activities video

A4BD activities video

In the following video you can watch a medley of activities carried out by partners for the A4BD project.

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A4BD participates in Patras IQ innovation expo

A4BD participates in Patras IQ innovation expo

A4BD project participated in the 6th Patras IQ innovation expo that took place from 12 to 14th April 2019. The project presented current project results with our booth which exhibited a banner, videos from meeting and activities as well as hands-on demo with the...

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Second A4BD software demo takes place in Greece

Second A4BD software demo takes place in Greece

The second A4BD software demo took place in Patra, Greece during the C4 meeting. Members of the Western Greece Blind Association tested the newer software and answered the questions of the Software Evaluation Sheet in order to evaluate the progress in the software...

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C4 meeting started in Patras

C4 meeting started in Patras

The C4 meeting started in Patras, Greece. As this month we are reaching the middle of the projects, partners presented the activities of the first half of the project.

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C3 meeting in Sanlucar

C3 meeting in Sanlucar

The C4 meeting started in Patras, Greece. As this month we are reaching the middle of the projects, partners presented the activities of the first half of the project.

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First A4BD software demo takes place in Spain

First A4BD software demo takes place in Spain

The C3 meeting finished in Sanlúcar de Barrameda with a very constructive schedule that included meeting sessions, app demo, visit to the Spanish Blind Association and visit to a Special School. The social program was also rich with visit to Doñana National Park and a...

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The first A4BD student exchange was a success!

The first A4BD student exchange was a success!

The first A4BD software demo took place in Spain during C3 in Sanlúcar de Barrameda. Participants with visual impairment tested the software and gave the consortium valuable feedback regarding the approach to visual-aural translation.  

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A4BD questionnaires are being filled in

A4BD questionnaires are being filled in

The first A4BD student exchange was a success! It took place in Reunion island, organized by Collège Emilien Adam de Villiers. Participants from Poland, Spain, Greece, Latvia and Cyprus had the chance to visit the College as well as interesting places on the island...

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Meeting with Western Greece Blind Association

Meeting with Western Greece Blind Association

A large number of A4BD questionnaires have already been filled in thanks to our project partners. With this questionnaire we aim to better understand how the visually impaired interact with sound and how aural perception assists in perceiving all aspects of the...

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Contact

National Agency IKY

Project: 2017-1-EL01-KA201-036255

Start date: 1 September 2017

End date: 31 August 2020

Coordinator of the project:

University of Patras

Dr. Ioannis Gialelis

+302610996440

email: a4bd@a4bd.eu