Friday, July 6, 2018

Self-E: INdia's first self driving wheelchair

Three final-year engineering students of Amritha Vishwa Vidyapeetham University in Coimbatore have developed a self-driving wheelchair called ‘Self-E’ with an autonomous navigation system which ensured easy travel of users from one place to another without user intervention. The Robotic Operating System (ROS) helps navigate automatically making it user-friendly. The user can touch any point on the generated map, and the wheelchair will drive to that place automatically navigating its own path and avoiding obstacles.






Read more here:
https://indianexpress.com/article/india/three-b-tech-students-in-tamil-nadu-develop-indias-first-self-driving-wheelchair-5245969/


and here:
https://qrius.com/students-in-coimbatore-develop-low-cost-self-driving-wheelchair-all-you-need-to-know/

Thursday, July 5, 2018

The Children's Post of India - now available for audio

I started The Children's Post of India in June 2017 as a 4 page daily newsletter for children. The issue was that there was no daily newspaper and to form a habit, we need to read something everyday.


The newsletter has now completed an year and has weathered some storms.


The editorial team of the newsletter has decided to increase the tribe. So while we are talking to some volunteers to convert some key feature articles into audio, do feel free to take the content if you are a blind school, and read it to the children in the morning assembly.


If you are an NGO working with underprivileged children in any way, pls feel free to take the newsletter and use with your own children.


The newsletter is shared with a small Facebook community. Just ask to join the group:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/satyavratcommunity


When asking to join, please mention the NGO you are with and we will approve request.


Will also update when we are able to release an audio version.


PS: If you are the parent of a child in this age group, you can also join the group. This is not a commercial publication and cannot be bought for money.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Poor man's assistance for the visually impaired


Beyond the electronics, the visually impaired can also receive assistance in moving around with the help of Service dogs. These dogs help the disabled to get any special assistance which is important in their daily lives. For example, dogs can be trained to pick things up, visually guide those with visual impairments, gives reminders to take medication or to attend any event, help in correcting your movement etc. These dogs always accompany you everywhere you go and a special thing about these dogs is that it allowed to enter places which don’t allow dogs. These dogs are with you all the time and it is pretty beneficial.

Source: emaze.com

Electronic aids for the visually impaired



Continuing on the earlier post, another area of innovation is in providing help the visually impaired to move around. We are familiar with the white cane as a mobility tool. The modern technology has helped in the creation of the so called 'Electronic Travel Aids'. Such devices help the visually impaired get information on the surrounding objects on the road, With this one would be able to avoid obstacles and reach their destinations.




Source: brailworks.com


Optical Character Recognition (OCR) is a device which helps to convert scanned images to text and this can be read out with the help of a Screen Reader. People suffering from any sort of vision disorder depend on their family members to read books/newspapers. The OCR makes things easier by scanning the required material and this can be read out by the Screen Reader. The advantage of this device is the disabled need not get any assistance in reading books/newspapers.

Similarly, digital audio player/recorders also help to reduce one’s dependence on their family members. They assist a visually impaired person to record any important information which includes appointments, contact numbers etc.

Refreshable Braille Display for the Visually Impaired


Continuing on the previous post, we would like to look at another device that has helped the visually impaired. Braille is a tactile writing system used by the visually impaired. There is an interesting innovation based to this called “Refreshable Braille Display”.This is a device which helps in displaying Braille characters. It has to be connected to the computer via a USB cable. Once connected to the computer, the Braille display acquires the highlighted words and translates into braille characters. The Refreshable Braille Display enables its users to see or read anything on electronic gadgets. They can write braille characters with the original slate and stylus or type it on a braille writer, such as a portable braille note taker or computer that prints with a braille embosser.

Source: Wikipedia.com

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

HOW TECHNOLOGY CHANGED FOR THE VISUALLY IMPAIRED



Technology has been improving more and more every day. The mobile phones, televisions, and laptops we use today have been improvised over a period to make life easier. It is evident that technology has been very important in almost every aspect of our lives. One important aspect that we are going to look at is how technology has changed the lives of the visually impaired.


The first and foremost innovation is the screen reader software. This software allows the visually impaired see what normal people see on a display with the help of ‘Braille device’, sound icons, speech synthesizer etc. It uses Text-to-Speech engine to read out what is displayed on the screen.
Source: usabilitygeek.com

This not only helps the visually impaired, but also the illiterate and the people suffering from disorders that prevent them from learning. Many technology companies have undertaken the effort to integrate this software into their products. For example, Microsoft has included Microsoft Narrator screen reader in their operating system. Google has included the Talk back screen reader in Android. Blackberry has included similar software in some of their devices like the Blackberry 10.

Let's do a Blind Walk!


Now that summers are over, we look forward to another year of sensitisation.

If you are in Delhi NCR, we would love to do a Blind Walk at your office, housing society, colony park, school or college. Contact us and we will set up a date.

Blind Walk is an event that Esha has conducted successfully to sensitise people to the need for inclusive environments.

We hope to do 5 Blind walks in July 2018 and our aim is to create at least 1 lakh sensitised people this year. Let's get started!

There is no charge for a Blind Walk. So if you are an employee engagement professional looking to do a free activity that is also Fun@Work, contact us today!

Blind Walk at Nagarro Software - March 2018

Friday, June 8, 2018

Check this out!!


https://www.zdnet.com/article/ar-for-the-blind-brings-is-straight-out-of-star-trek/?ftag=TRE-03-10aaa6b&bhid=31824199




Both Google and Microsoft are working on major technological advances based on audio and also specifically for the VI. I am keeping fingers crossed and hoping it happens soonest.

Library Updated - 6650 files now - Nepali added to languages

72 files were added today to the online audio library of Esha (www.braillecards.org/audio.php)


The most notable additions are:
1. 18 children's stories in Nepali.
2. Punjabi Akhaan - 4 files covering over 100 Punjabi sayings
3. Animal Farm - Entire book in a single file.
4. The book - Life is for You (Motivation)
5. Original quizzes by Meera Agarwal in English and Hindi
6. 2 more chapters of unabridged Arthashastra in Hindi


We hope you enjoy the new content.


The mobile app (Android: CLABIL) will also be updated shortly with at least 1500 new files.


Thank you for your continued support to the library.


In other news, on the Braille cards, we got 2 new clients from the Delhi region alone, and some very prestigious names have sent enquiries. We look forward to braille enabling their cards soon. :)


The Esha Summer Project is underway and doing very well.