Call to develop assistive devices for persons with disabilities

Asia-Pacific, Assistive Technology, March 23 2017

TIRUCHI, INDIA: Institutes of higher learning should focus on developing low cost assistive devices for persons with disabilities, said G.Tagore, Research Officer, National Institute of Empowerment of Persons with Visual Disabilities (NIEPVD), Chennai, on Monday.
Kid with vision disability using the device to learn Braille. Photo: EPS
Speaking at a training program for students with vision disabilities, “Activating Human Potential,” at the National Institute of Technology-Tiruchi, organised in association with the NIEPVD, he said though a few devices and methods were available to help people with vision disabilities, there was a strong need for providing best possible devices to support them to improve the quality of life. Higher learning institutes should take up projects supporting people with vision disabilities.

Abdul Jaffer, a visually impaired teacher in Kattur Government School and lead organiser of Jagajothi voluntary readers circle, Tiruchi, said the city could be the hub of all pioneering activities on disability for all districts in the State.

A.K. Bakthavatsalam, NIT-T, said that so far NIT-T students had created more than 300 audio books which were available as open source for all in the district library.

The institute had taken up a number of projects to serve the society. The NIT-T had won two national awards for excellence in serving the society from the leading industry bodies FICCI and ASSOCHAM.

Radha Bai, Head, Department of History, Government Arts College, Pudukkottai, T. Rashikeshavan, founder, Hayagreeva Academy, spoke.

A large number of students with vision disabilities from Tiruchi, Thanjavur, Coimbatore, Ariyalur and nearby districts attended the program. The workshop had components of motivation, simple yoga techniques, memory enhancing methods apart from a session on Swavalamban, a Government insurance scheme for person with disabilities and a demo of IRIS – a project by second year B.Tech students which aids in object recognition to voice conversion for visually impaired.

About 70 participants meeting the eligibility requirements were handed over Plextalk DAISY (Digital Accessible Information System) devices.

The cell phone like device has capabilities of high quality voice recording and Daisy text to voice conversion which are useful for the students.

The device was given free under the Assistance to Disabled Persons for Purchase/Fitting of Aids and Appliances Scheme of the union government.

Source: Hindu

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