Karnataka: These engineers quit jobs to help blind

The team is now applying for global patents before introducing the product in the market.

BENGALURU: To bridge the gap between technology and visually impaired, a group of engineering graduates quit their jobs to focus on their dream project which would help the visually impaired chase bigger dreams. Sparsh, as the final product of the project is named, streams digital data into Braille real-time. It has been invented and designed by former students of CMR Institute of Technology in the city.

The innovators told Deccan Chronicle that the hardships faced by the visually impaired motivated them to work on the project. “Braille books available at blind schools are bulky, as the normal one-page content takes up three pages in Braille after translation,” they said. The fact that the students are not allowed to take books home because of scarcity of resources was also one of the prime reasons behind working on an easily portable device, they said.

The team consists of Kiran L., a telecom engineer, Siddhant Gaonkar and Rohit Neil Goash, specilaised in electronics engineering, and Vishnu Ramakrishnan, a mechanical engineer. “The diversity helped us, as we had expertise in all fields for the device, which works on electro-mechanical technology,” Kiran said.

The invention works based on a Dynamic Braille Board (DBB), which consists of a single cell forming a rolling display that can be projected onto the user’s fingertips, helping them access the information in the tactile Braille script. According to the team, the final product will be similar to a developed version of a computer mouse. Considering the heavy cost of such accessibility devices available at the market at the moment, the creators of Sparsh have made it a point to make their product economic. “While such devices cost around Rs 1.5-2 lakh in the market, the maximum cost of Sparsh will be around Rs 7,000,” he said.

The compatibility of the device with computers and smartphones via Bluetooth is another highlight of Sparsh. The user can use earphones to get audio feedback which reads out file names helping him/her to make the selections easier. The innovation is believed to be the successor to assistive technology, including screen readers and magnification tools which are used in the digital space now.

The team is now applying for global patents before introducing the product in the market.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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