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Saturday, 20 December 2014

Custom New app to enable visually impaired walk freely launched:Puducherry

A team comprising members of the faculty and research scholars from Pondicherry University has developed a mobile application to help visually-challenged people navigate independently the varsity campus.

The application, called 'Vilosen' (Visually impaired location sensor) can be customized for any localion after mapping and feeding details of buildings, roads and routes to reach different parts of the area, and other physical infrastructures that would be used by the visually-challenged.

The team -- led by K S Kuppusamy, an assistant professor from the Department of Computer Science, and comprising A Chidambaram, assistant professor in the Department of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy, and five research scholars -- has already customized the application for the 35 visually challenged students in the Kalapet campus.

The application would help its users by furnishing details about sites, information about buildings and the routes to be followed to reach desired destinations.

"The team plans to upload the application on the university's website and visually challenged students can download the application and use it for easy navigation. It is an open source software and anyone can download and modify it as per their requirement," said Chidambaram adding that the application can be upgraded by integrating several other features like GPS and Google Maps among others.

The team is also developing an application to help the visually-challenged to identify Indian currencies and an application to guide them to choose apparels and accessories of different shades and colours.

"These two applications are under trial. We hope to develop them within the next three or six months," Chidambaram, who is also the coordinator of the higher education for persons with special needs programme of the university, said.

The application will identify Indian currencies for now but later can be upgraded to expand its range. "Presently the application takes roughly 20 seconds to identify an Indian currency. We are fine-tuning the application to identify the currencies in lesser time," he said.

Vilosen was formally launched during the observation of International Day for People with Disability at the varsity campus. The other two applications will be launched soon. The United Nations this year advocated observance of the day under the theme 'Sustainable development: The promise of technology'.

"We wanted to play our part in realizing the UN's goal and came up with the idea of developing applications and softwares to assist the differently-abled people," he said.

Source: TOI, 20th Dec 2014

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