Grab Text from Images with Project Naptha

 

Images are powerful tools for communication, and we try to use them in our courses wherever we can. A picture can speak a thousand words, as they say. More practically, a quiz asking students to identify the bones of the human skeleton makes more sense visually than as text. At the same time, however, images can be extremely frustrating if they contain text of any kind. Text in an image is, most likely, not screen readable. Have you ever tried to copy/paste text from an image? The reason why you couldn’t is because, to your computer, that text doesn’t exist. Try to highlight these words in bold. Now try to highlight the text in the image below.

Han Solo meme pun: I'll be celebrating Valentine's Day Han's Style...Solo

Screen-readability is an essential consideration for us because visually impaired students rely on it to interact with course materials. Even for students who aren’t visually impaired, there are foreign language considerations as well as issues of convenience. It is, quite simply, sort of a hassle to deal with text in an image because we’re so used to being able to grab the words we want, whenever we want, with a few clicks of the mouse.

Enter Project Naptha, a promising attempt to improve the accessibility of text in images. As an extension, Project Naptha lives in your web browser and automatically detects text in an image, allowing users to copy, translate, even delete it.

While it doesn’t relieve us of the responsibility to make our course materials as accessible to everyone as we possibly can, I hope that tools like Project Naptha may give some students more freedom/agency to interact with images for which we are not responsible. And anyway, it’s just plain useful. I suggest you give it a try.

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