Chieko Asakawa

Chieko Asakawa

Group Leader, IBM Tokyo, Accessibility Research, IBM

Inducted in 2003

Chieko is responsible for the research and development of IBM applications that significantly improve web accessibility for the visually impaired and others with special needs.

Her contributions include making the Internet and other web resources available by automatically converting text and icons on the screen to voice. She was a key leader in the development of the IBM home page reader. Chieko allows people to surf the web using numeric keypads instead of a mouse. Her program is now produced in 11 languages and distributed worldwide.

She developed a digital Braille system and three key applications, including the braille editing system to allow users to input and edit Braille using an ordinary keyboard and monitor. She also developed the Braille dictionary system and the IBM braille forum network.

Chieko researches systems to support web designers who create more accessible content through the support of personalization features that meet the needs of specific users, including people with disabilities. She is also researching how various types of visual information can be accessed and represented non-visually using hearing and touch.

Before assuming her next role helping web designers to create more accessible content through the support of personalization features that meet the needs of specific users, including people with disabilities, Chieko held research and development positions at the IBM Tokyo Research Lab developing educational systems and user interfaces.

Her inventions have five patents, and she has contributed to numerous technical journals and papers. She joined IBM in 1985 and is a member of the IBM Academy of Technology.

Chieko taught at Tsukuba Engineering College, focusing on human interface issues.

She is a member of the Institute of Electronics, Information and Communication Engineers of Japan; the Information Processing Society of Japan; and the Association for Computing Machinery. She holds a literature degree from Ottemonn University.

Chieko sought to improve the lives of the visually impaired by ensuring they have equal access to technology and innovation and challenging traditional thinking about how those with special needs use technology. Blind from the age of 14, she led by example, demonstrating that the impossible is never out of reach.

Ted
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