Automated Generation of Tactile Mathematics

Presented at 11:15am in Plaza Ballroom E on Thursday, November 18, 2021.



  • Volker Sorge, Dr, Progressive Accessibility Sol.

Session Details

  • Length of Session: 1-hr
  • Format: Lecture
  • Expertise Level: Beginner
  • Type of session: General Conference


We present a workflow for the generation of tactile mathematical content from commonly used mathematical markup. The workflow exclusively employs freely available open source tools and results in embossable output that is a combination of literary Braille and Nemeth Code together with diagrams set as tactile graphics.


The generation of mathematical content in tactile form is a time consuming and often expensive process. We will present a workflow for the automated transcription of mathematical textbooks and course material into tactile formats. The workflow is based on a combination of open source tools and facilitates translation of common math markup into literary Braille and Nemeth Code. In particular, its input is based on PreTeXt, a highly structured XML markup containing mathematical formulas in LaTeX, which is commonly used for open education resources in mathematics. To generate tactile output we employ LibLouis for literary Braille together with MathJax and Speech Rule Engine for translating formulas to Nemeth. While the result can be sent directly to an embosser, we also provide support for proof reading and correction of the Nemeth output as well as techniques to automatically turn mathematical diagrams into tactile graphics.


  1. Automated generation of tactile teaching material in mathematics can reduce workload
  2. The high quality transcription of LaTeX Math to Nemeth Braille is a key factor
  3. Creation of tactile mathematical graphics can be supported and automated

Disability Areas


Topic Areas

Accessible Educational Materials, Alternate Format, Research, Uncategorized

Speaker Bio(s)

Volker Sorge

Volker is Professor in Document Analysis and Accessibility at the University of Birmingham, UK and Adjunct Faculty at IIT Delhi, India. He is working primarily on diagram recognition, mathematical document analysis and handwriting recognition. Practical applications of his research include STEM accessibility with a particular focus on Web technologies and eBooks. He has been working as a Visiting Scientist with Google on math integration into ChromeVox. He is a member of the MathJax consortium responsible for the integration of accessible rendering of mathematical formulas on the web. And with his company Progressive Accessibility Solutions, he concentrates on accessibility technology that exploits image analysis to generate accessible STEM diagrams.