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AccessiblePeakMeter is a plug-in that reduces barriers to visually impaired audio engineers by converting visual cues in industry digital workstations to audio cues.

  • School/Institute/Department: School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science, Faculty of Science and Engineering
  • Subjects: Sonification, Audio Engineering
  • Audience:
  • Status: Past

AccessiblePeakMeter supports visually impaired audio engineers by reducing barriers created through a dependence of digital workstations on sight. The plug-in allows visually impaired audio engineers to work on commercial contracts by using real‑time audio cues rather than the visual ones used in commercial digital workstations.

The free device can be downloaded for direct use in commercially available Digital Audio Workstations, running on both Windows and Mac platforms, with 451 downloads between its launch in May 2015 and the end of that year.

The team worked directly with visually impaired musicians and audio engineers from their Accessible Interaction for Music and Sound group, to inform the design of AccessiblePeakMeter and to provide feedback and suggestions for redesign before public release.

The device was refined through these participants through hands‑on workshops and direct feedback on the designs in real‑world use. This taught the team the controls and feedback that needed to be provided through the interactive sonifications to support accessible audio engineering.

AccessiblePeakMeter received the Best Solution by a Large Organization award in the AT&T and New York University Connect Ability Challenge, a global software competition for software technologies that improve the lives of people living with disabilities.

The team are also in conversations with two leading organisations in the field, Avid and Steinberg, to contribute to developing more accessible versions of audio software, workstations and Virtual Studio Technology. This provides QMUL with free access to their resources and allows for possible future research collaboration around accessible audio technologies.

As a result of the success of AccessiblePeakMeter the team are now developing a second accessible plug-­‐‑in for DAWs to allow more complex analysis of sound waveforms.

You can view the AccessiblePeakMeter website for more information, videos, and images 

AccessiblePeakMeter were highly commended at the Engagement and Enterprise Awards 2015 for research has been used to change the way that things are done.

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