Lake Pines Braille

Making Online Math Accessible.

Lake Pines Braille is the culmination of over 20 years work to develop online interactive math solutions and bring them to blind and visually-impaired users.

The Accessible Equation Editor development began in 2001 at IBM Research as a project to create a web-based math editor based on the techexplorer Hypermedia Browser, a cross-platform, cross-browser plug-in that delivers advanced mathematics over the web using TeX and LaTeX. The original Equation Editor was built in C++ using the techexplorer Netscape browser plugin.

In 2003, the techexplorer technologies, including the Equation Editor, were purchased by Integre Technical Publishing Company in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where the Equation Editor development transitioned to Java in 2004 and to ActionScript in 2010.

In 2011, Integre was bought by NCS Pearson, an educational publishing company that provides online instruction and assessments, where the Equation Editor development transitioned to JavaScript in 2012 for use within the Pearson TestNav Assessment Platform, where it provided equation editing to support online testing and automated math scoring using content MathML, collecting millions of student responses per year.

In February 2015, with the support and encouragement of the National Federation for the Blind, Jan McSorley at Pearson introduced Sam Dooley, the principal Equation Editor developer, to the needs of blind and visually-impaired math students. Sam recognized that the unique design of the Equation Editor made it possible to generate Nemeth braille output directly from content MathML, and within two months created a working prototype to demonstate the translation. By the end of July, a first demonstration was made using a refreshable braille device to input the quadratic equation using Nemeth braille.  These results were first presented at the 30th Annual CSUN Assistive Technology Conference in the spring of 2016, where four presentations on the Accessible Equation Editor were accepted.

Lake Pines Braille was formed in 2019 as a vehicle to continue development on the Accessible Equation Editor, based on a source code license granted by Pearson. In 2022, under a consulting contract with Pearson, the AEE was developed into an independent web application, supporting contracted English braille input for text and Nemeth braille input for math within a single application.

Sam Dooley is the sole proprietor of Lake Pines Braille, LLC, and is the principal software engineer responsible for creating the Accessible Equation Editor, from its original conception in 2001, until its release as a stand alone web application in 2023. He is the inventor of the Braille Generator and Converter software system that forms the core of the Accessible Equation Editor, for which he received a patent in 2018.

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