Xsonify sonification tool for space physics
Candey, R. M.
Schertenleib, A. M.
Diaz Merced, W. L.
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xSonify is a concentrated project to extend the space physics data capabilities of the NASA Space Physics Data Facility (SPDF)  for use by visually-impaired students and researchers, by developing a sonification data analysis tool using the JavaSound API and accessing data locally or via web services. xSonify is an open-source publicly-available Java application and can be easily installed (using WebStart) and run on most platforms. With sonification, a large fraction of the space physics data collection is opened to a completely new and now excluded audience (both professional and public). Besides meeting a compelling need for a more effective non-visual approach to displaying science data, this extends SPDF's goals of improving access to space physics data and helps achieve NASA's goals of diversity and public outreach. Wanda Diaz Merced, a visually-impaired astrophysicist from Puerto Rico, is instrumental in advising on and testing the tool. Anton Schertenleib is the initial developer, as part of his graduate student thesis effort. We seek to further develop this tool with greater capabilities for rendering these data, improve its functional interface and allow for a wider variety of file input formats. Completion of this tool will open up the SPDF space physics data collection to a new community of researchers and students now excluded from space physics research. Development and evaluation will be guided by a user group of space scientists (sighted and visually-impaired) and experts in adaptive technologies from the National Federation of the Blind (NFB).