Translate The Content in Your Local Language

Friday, 2 January 2015

Std IX student devises gadget to help blind read, navigate - Nagpur

Fiddling around with electronic devices and seeing a toy that 'spoke' when two electrodes were joined gave 14-year-old Aditya Bhople the idea of utilizing these technologies for the benefit of the visually impaired. He went on to make a wearable device that could help in converting text to speech as well as help the wearer with navigation.

A student of Std IX in Narayana Vidyalayam, Aditya has gone on to win the national-level science exhibition organized by Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) as well as Initiative for Research and Innovation in Science (IRIS) science fair. The current version of the device, named Autoreader, has already been certified by the Nagpur Blind Relief Association as a usable device.

Aditya is now working on increasing the functionalities and further improving the device with the help of senior scientists. The new version that will be the outcome of these improvements would be presented at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in the US in May.

"What I have come up with is a wearable assistant, which utilizes technologies like Optical Character Recognition (ORC) and Text-To-Speech (TTS) to help visually impaired to read text and navigate their way while avoiding any obstacles. The first prototype that I built in May was a very rough and basic version that used radio frequency identification technology (RFID) and ultrasonic sensors. The next version would be a very refined one in which air craft collision avoiding system would be used," said Aditya.

While the first version was presented at the regional rounds of the CBSE science exhibition earlier this year where it won the best in category award, several suggestions came up for increasing utility of the device. In the quest for improvement, Aditya worked on visual processing algorithms, some open-source text-to-speech engines and also designed an Android app to control the device using the google voice recognition engine. In its current form, Autoreader is fitted with another stand-alone device. It now has the capacity to identify and convert to speech eight fonts of typed text in English language, and to detect obstructions within a range of 3.4 meters.

As a winner of IRIS fair, which is organized jointly by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) of Government of India, Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) and Intel Education, Autoreader will be one of India's twelve official entries for ISEF. Scientists from Intel as well as those from the DST are now helping in further improving the device.

As per the suggestion of reviewers from Nagpur Blind Relief Association, there are efforts to incorporate an SOS system to the device. Other improvements planned include making Hindi fonts recognizable by the reader and reducing the size of the device from 130 grams to 60 grams.

Source: TOI, 2nd Jan 2015

No comments:

Post a Comment