AIISH conducts hackathon on assistive technology for persons with disabilities

Asia-Pacific, September 28 2016

MYSURU, INDIA: All India Institute of Speech and Hearing (AIISH) is seeking to tap into the talent of engineering students and faculty to help persons with communication disabilities.

In this regard, the department of electronics of the premier institute, along with IEEE special interest group on communication disability, hosted an assistive technology hackathon on Saturday.

Speaking after inaugurating the meet, Director of the Centre for Assistive Technology and Innovation of the National Institute of Speech and Hearing K G Satheesh Kumar pointed out that assistive technology products are imported and are expensive, making them out of reach for many special persons. With the development of a domestic market for assistive technology products, it is expected that innovation and technology development can lead to better quality of life for persons with disability, he stated.

He said, “There is greater awareness about the rights of persons with disabilities even as assistive technology is improving fast to enable them lead more fulfilling lives. Our leading institutions of research and education including AIISH have produced several useful assistive technologies and are continuing their good work, but we have challenges in reaching them to the end users. Lack of awareness among users, families, and caregivers is the primary bottleneck and needs to be addressed by consistent efforts over a period of time.”

“Many technologies developed in India fail to convert into successful products for want of product engineering and an industry to undertake production. The lacklustre interest by the industry has been largely due to the low volumes that stand in the way of profitability. Hence, Individual assistive technology developers should be supported by a national assistive technology policy,” he added.

Ajish K Abraham, professor of AIISH and coordinator of the hackathon stated that about 150 final year B tech students from Electronics and Communication, Electrical and Electronics, Tele-communication, Applied Electronics and Instrumentation branches from various colleges participated in this hackathon.

Several innovative ideas such as Hobot for the disabled, eye and neck movement based communication system for people with mobility disabilities, hand talk, e-module for listening comprehension, morse communicator, android application for speech to sign language and sign language to speech were presented at the hackathon. In all, 50 project proposals were submitted and 26 of them were selected for presentation, the AIISH stated. AIISH director S R Savithri stressed upon the need for collaborative work in the area.

Source: Times of India

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