For bodies with beheld disabilities, best acquirements actual in academy and academy has tended to be in Braille, the concrete autograph arrangement developed by Louis Braille in 1824, or added in the avant-garde world, via audio. But in workplaces, aback they are in an ambiance breadth anybody is appliance accepted argument on computers, and there is no apparatus which can calmly catechumen Braille to accepted argument and carnality versa.
Also, Braille takes up added amplitude than commonly printed argument does; a book of a assertive cardinal of pages would charge up to eight times that in Braille, and amount eight times as abundant too. “A schoolchild cannot backpack such books after a trunk,” says Surabhi Srivastava. “Less than 1% of appear argument globally is attainable in Braille, due to the accomplishment complex in customising it and the aerial costs.”
Ms. Srivastava and Shyam Shah, co-founders of Innovision Tech, aim to break the botheration with a simple, affordable solution, BrailleMe, a agenda abettor that can affix to phones, and computers.
BrailleMe’s account interface mimics Braille on paper, bartering the aloft dots via electro-mechanically operated pins, 20 characters to a line, and ascribe is via a six-button keypad. Argument can be transliterated into accepted belletrist and transferred to added devices, and carnality versa. “Our action was two-fold,” says Mr. Shah. “Give on-the go admission to all Braille requirements, and be a account of sorts for visually broken people.” The bigger goal: to advance articulacy amid visually broken people, and accord them attainable admission to books.
Innovision was incubated in IIT Bombay’s Society for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, with an aboriginal angel advance annular in 2016 followed by a admission from the US-India Science and Technology Endowment Fund. BrailleMe took one-and-a-half years of analysis and development. One of their bigger challenges, Ms. Srivastava says, is, ironically, Accomplish in India. “Moving from a ancestor to accomplishment involves a lot of costs, and there is no acceptable ecosystem for a start-up like us, for advisers and vendors.”
BrailleMe is activity through acreage trials in the USA and India, and will barrage on January 4, Apple Braille Day. Innovision is additionally talking to distributors and ally in 15 added countries, breadth they achievement best of the appeal will appear from. Ms. Srivastava says they would like to see the artefact “in the easily of individuals, not institutions that can about acquiesce such products.”
When Chandni Rajendran, again a aboriginal year Master’s amount activity at the Industrial Architecture Centre, IIT-B, was on one of her visits to the Xavier’s Resource Centre for the Visually Challenged (XRCVC) — breadth she interacted with acceptance and agents for her activity on concrete cartoon — a apprentice said to her, “It would be abundant if I could comedy with my sighted friends.” Bodies with beheld disabilities, she realised, were afar from abundant of computer gaming.
Thinking about this led her to advance a antic alternate accessory for dark children. Her device, which she calls Tactopus, has an bargain camera appliance angel processing technology commutual with a book with concrete graphics. The user wears a ablaze arrow arena which helps the camera advance her feel affective over the cartoon and the accessory again provides audio accompaniment, like descriptions of the graphics.
Ms. Rajendran chose the name Tactopus with some thought: “Most assisted technology accessories accept clinical’ names,” she says. “While my business is serious, I assignment with children, breadth they apprentice through play.” She wants Tactopus to be a apparent as a antic concrete device, attainable and portable.
Her aggregation was incubated at IIT-B, and her ancestor has additionally accustomed allotment from the India’s Department of Science & Technology’s NIDHI-PRAYAS action (National Action for Developing and Harnessing Innovations-Promotion and Acceleration of Young and Aspiring Technology Entrepreneurs) and afresh fabricated it to the top 10 Socially Innovative Ideas in Singapore’s DBS-NUS Amusing Venture Challenge Asia 2017.
Tactopus is now alive on content: an album and amateur are in development. The album includes an audio introduction, ‘gamified’ responses, and a analysis to analysis for comprehension; the amateur appear with questions and audio clues [hear the complete of a cat or car, and assumption what it is]. “We’re alive on a single-as able-bodied as two-player mode,” Ms. Rajendran says.
The aim is to accomplish Tactoplus a all-encompassing artefact alike the sighted can use. “It’s a accepted architecture assumption that if you can architecture for appropriate needs, your artefact is of a college quality.” It can additionally be acclimated with kids with added disabilities: “I met appropriate educators, who said advice able by touch, complete and visuals was actual advantageous for bodies with acquirements disabilities. I plan to assignment with them too.”
This alternation of adaptable apps, created by the Bidirectional Admission Promotion Society (Bapsi) and broadcast chargeless on the Android platform, enables deaf-blind individuals to acquaint appliance a smartphone. It can additionally be acclimated by bodies who are clumsy to acquaint due to added concrete or acoustic problems.
The activity affairs to use accordance so that deaf-blind individuals can apprehend text, wikipedia entries readable, alike column tweets. Vickram Crishna, one of the creators of the apps, says, “The achievement method, or affectation of information, is through haptics or accordance and individuals appliance the app will accept to apprentice Morse code.” For input, he says that aback smartphones with absorbed concrete keyboards are adamantine to acquisition now, Bapsi recommends bargain Bluetooth keyboards. “There is now abundant computer acquaintance actuality accomplished that ability of keyboards is adequately common.”
Mr. Crishna says that allotment came from abroad, as they could not get anybody in India to armamentarium a activity like this. “For companies that are into big accouterments or software, authoritative specialised applications is not apparent as a applicable bazaar strategy. One of the things we try and actualize acquaintance about is that the acreage of specialised applications is applicable in itself.” Apps like the Accordance series, he says, are important because they abode the botheration of breezy communication. “At that amount for developing apps and advice devices, best bodies are alone cerebration of acclamation the academic advice botheration and not to appoint the accidental ancillary of the personality. This is appropriately as important.”
Jellow began as a accessory created as allotment of the Microsoft Architecture Expo aback in 2004, at the IDC Academy of Design, IIT Bombay. The Expo capital to focus on advice accoutrement for accouchement with bookish palsy.
The ancestor was again actual big-ticket to make; by 2008, it had been adapted to a web-based application. In 2015 the activity was taken over by Sudha Srinivasan, a paediatric physiotherapist, to see if it could be scaled up and acclimated as a apparatus that would advice accouchement with any affectionate of advice impairment.
“We ran a cardinal of account studies, to see if kids were apropos to the app, if it was attainable to use and navigate,” Ms. Srinivasan says. “We ran these tests with accustomed accouchement first, afore alike aggravating it with accouchement who had advice impairment.” After the changes built-in of the testing, aggregation created an Android-based adaptable app that additionally utilised Google text-to- articulation interface. The app is for beginner-level communication, she says. “Some of the added solutions attainable at this point crave a college akin of cognition. This is for addition aloof starting off with augmentative communication.”
Jellow uses two sets of icons: six ‘expressive; buttons, three on anniversary ancillary of the screen, for Like, Don’t like, Yes, No, More, and Less; and in the centre, ‘category’ buttons for things like Food, Learning, Places, Fun and People. So, back a user curtains the Aliment and Added buttons, Jellow will anatomy the book “I appetite added food.” The class buttons are hierarchically abiding bottomward three levels; a double-tap on Aliment for example, leads to Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner, and borer one of those would appearance assorted aliment items.
Ms. Srinivasan wants Jellow to advice accouchement with advice crime to affix with the apple about them and with their caregivers, an another to bulky processes like appliance pictures or flashcards. Jellow aims to be, she says, “A holistic advice solution, attainable in assorted formats including a downloadable album version, a flashcard kit, a desktop version, and an app-based adaptation as well, so that it can clothing the advice needs of accouchement with capricious needs and abilities.”
Sanjana Aswani and her brother faced abounding difficulties back aggravating to align carriage for her mother, who is disabled. “We begin that not alone is it difficult to organise, but there was additionally a affectionate of stigma associated with disabled bodies alike dispatch out of the abode if it was not to go to the hospital,” she says. It acquainted about like bodies with disabilities should not apprehend to go out for simple things like weddings or amusing events, or out for a meal, or aloof for the amusement of accepting out.
That’s why she biconcave into her claimed accumulation and started Mobicab, in December 2016. The account currently operates with a agile of 4 cars that are disabled-friendly. Mobicab offers either a sedan, breadth the advanced bench detaches to become a wheelchair, or a van, in which barter can booty their own wheelchairs. She affairs to aggrandize the account to accommodate added cartage soon.
Umoja began in 2014 by acquisition abundant and dependable advice about hotels with acceptable accessibility standards, as a account for bodies with disability. Umoja’s belvedere lists over 100 such hotels in 11 day-tripper destinations beyond the country. Yeshwant Holkar, founder, says, “The DNA of Umoja is architecture admission to advice on scale. If bodies accept admission to advice they can accomplish bigger decisions about hotels and breadth to stay. They can additionally get information, for instance, about whether the coffee boutique or bistro adjacent is accessible.”
The aggregation additionally launched a committed biking account in 2016, and it has attainable biking itineraries which accommodate India’s Golden Triangle (Delhi, Agra, Jaipur), as able-bodied as Kerala and Goa. Umoja additionally afresh appear the aboriginal wheelchair user’s adviser to Goa, accoutrement hotels, eateries and day-tripper sites and has authored agnate guides for destinations in the UK, and was one of the organisers of a wheelchair-friendly bank anniversary in Goa beforehand this year that additionally featured appropriate chairs in which wheelchair users could go into the sea.
“The added above breadth we are attractive to abode is affordability,” Mr. Holkar says. “On the break of apple affliction day, we are ablution an Umoja card. Based on acknowledgment from our association we got advice about articles disabled bodies use, and accept approved up with accomplice companies to accommodate discounts. This could ambit from areas like food, carriage and purchasing things like developed diapers.” The agenda will acquiesce companies to clue what disabled bodies — a demographic usually abandoned by marketers — are purchasing so they can accomplish their casework better.
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