A couple of software developed by the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur will soon revolutionise the way in which the disabled persons can cope up with day-to-day activities. Buying vegetables from the market or composing poetry will just be a touch on the smartdevice away.
Softwares ‘Akash Baani’ and ‘Sanyog’ may help persons with disabilities, including those affected with cerebral, to express their feelings by touching icons on the screen, which will then create sentences, and further translate into voice messages.
A workshop was recently held in Kolkata to train NGOs on how these software can be used to help the disabled become more self-dependent. Professor Anupam Basu, the brainchild behind these software, while speaking to Express said, “In ‘Sanyog’, for creating a sentence like ‘I want to watch TV’, a user has to select an icon of himself, a TV and that of an eye, which will then form the sentence which will be then turn into a voice message from text to speech.
For buying vegetables, the user may select the vegetable he/she wants to buy and the quantity. The sentences will be blurted out to the shopkeeper.” Speaking about ‘Akash Baani’, Prof Basu says, “A large number of icons will be present in the software.
Each icon will have a message with it. Whenever a user selects an icon, the stored message will be spoken.” While ‘Akash Bani’ costs Rs 1,000, Sanyog’s is on the higher end priced Rs 8,000. When asked about those who can’t touch small icons on the smart devices, Prof Basu explained about an access switch that is more like a big red flat joystick with which the user may browse with whatever part of body that works — may browse the icons and select them,” Professor Basu said.
The software that have been put on display in Rashtrapati Bhavan are being used in the Indian Institute of Cerebral Palsy and Action for Ability Development and Inclusion in the national capital. It has taken 2 years to develop ‘Akash Baani’ and 4 years to develop ‘Sanyog’.
“The technologies are being transferred to Society for Natural Language Technology Research (SNLTR), under the IT department of West Bengal government,” Professor Basu said, adding that support from the state government and local NGOs are needed for expand the reach of these software into the rural areas.