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.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Esha's blog is in India's top blogs 2018 as well!

In 2017, we were so happy to find the Esha blog among India's top blogs. This is my favorite, favorite list because it is curated by real people and the only criteria for making it to this list is content.


Am so glad to share that the Esha blog is also in the list for 2018!


We don't know the people behind the initiative, but Thank you so much, ITB team, for recognising the work at Esha.


https://www.indiantopblogs.com/p/the-directory-of-best-indian-blogs.html

Friday, May 4, 2018

Our Requirements in different languages

Many of you ask about our requirements in langauges.
We were finally able to create this list. In every language, we want the following (in that order of priority):
A. Children's Stories
B. Proverbs and Idioms of that language. Any other cultural thing relevant to the language - any folk recipes, names of plants and animals etc. This will help people who dont know their mother tongue and want to learn it. ...
C. Wikipedia or otherwise GK articles on "States of India"
D. Wikipedia or GK articles on "India's neighboring countries"
E. Quizzes
F. Learn English through Indian languages - where one line is read in the native language and then the same line is read in English.
G. Best selling classic authors of that language. For Hindi, that would be Premchand. For Tamil, Thirukural etc.
H. Children's notes in their own language for any academic concept.

To see what we already have, please go to www.braillecards.org/audio.php.
Whatever is not there should be recorded!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The Esha Summer Project 2018 is here!


The Esha Summer Project 2018 is here!


The work options this year are greater than ever before and for the first time, there are 3 research projects too!


The best thing to do would be to download the presentation and see it in slide show format. Each slide indicates what that project entails, the time credit that you will get and the time that you need to invest.
...
And then tell us what you would like to do!


The ppt version of the Summer Project details is here:
https://bit.ly/2HUv8wz
The pdf version is here:
https://bit.ly/2F9txjq


All queries and registrations to eshabraille@gmail.com


Monday, April 2, 2018

Blind Walk at Nagarro Software

On the 28th of March, we organised a Blind Walk at both the offices of Nagarro. The team of SOIL completely owned and realised this event.


Sharing some pictures.





Saturday, March 10, 2018

Mohammed Vohra - SOIL 2018 Batch - Experience with Esha


"I lack Sight, but not Vision” is driving motivation for us to work for the noble cause.

We, School of Inspired Leadership (SOIL) volunteers, got an opportunity to organize Tour De Vision (TDV) 4.0 cycling event in Gurgaon independently. I was fortunate to handle a team of 4 members under the guidance of TDV director, Rajesh Dhuddu, and founder of ESHA, Nidhi Arora. The objective was to sensitize people about the accessibility of public spaces for everyone – including differently abled.
Initially, we finalized date and venue for organizing our event. Prepared Project Charter, and Gantt chart which describes complete details of the event, task, and milestones to be accomplished. A great amount of time was invested in coordinating with our alums in gathering information about participants, corporate sponsors, promotion, snacks arrangement, balanced the budget, submission of all expenses receipts, payment to vendors. Brainstorming session helped us in setting our agenda and tasks to be accomplished on an individual basis.
Networking with the corporates and other organizations facilitated us in raising funds for our event. Multiple cold calls, and email communication helped us in reaching corporate sponsors in large scale. It was followed by scheduling meeting and pitching them to be part of this event. Conducted roadshows, advertising, digital marketing, and promotion in the corporate world for spreading our message among the public. Managing key stakeholders and fulfilling their requests was a challenging task which helped us in gaining client management skills. We ensured that expenses are minimal by identifying multiple vendors and buying products at cheapest prices.
We were fortunate to learn braille machine and printed 150 ‘Thank You!!!’ in braille. It was heart touching to see blind students from Janta Blind School crafting beautiful drawings on the gifts cards, to be given to the participants.
I was fortunate to do flag off for our event. We kept a checklist of all participants before and after the event to ensure that all are present at the venue. Blind walk and NAB (National Association of Blind) performance was followed by cycling event to sensitize how blind people function in the society.
Special thanks to all SOIL Volunteers, who helped us on the day of the event and making it successful. All credit goes to Rajesh Sir and Nidhi Ma’am for giving this wonderful opportunity to work for the social cause.

Rouble Munjal - SOIL - 2018 Batch - Experience of working with Esha

Working with ESHA foundation was one of a type experience. A typical NGO focuses on the
cause and wants other people to synthesise them but ESHA is an organization that is
working for dignity and empowerment of the visually impaired and to bring these
“differentially abled” people to the mainstream by making public space accessible for all.

I come from a mechanical background and I used to design the products that are used
by common people, but we never had the guidelines that we have to consider the
requirements that should suffice the usability of the product by these differentially abled
people.
Our government had already laid down standards for designing of infrastructure, railways,
public areas, offices but are they actually being implemented??
This questions prompted me to join ESHA foundation. When I first visited the Junta Blind
School in Gurgaon, I met the people with better senses then ours, the only difference was
we can see things clearly. Their remembering capacities are way better than ours. Our effort
can lead to one step ahead in making this mission possible.  Over the tenure of 4 months we
were assigned we two projects:
1. Creating Knowledge Resources that are available to the visually challenged at all
times, through the CLABIL (Central Library of Audio Books in Indian Languages)
project
2. Conduct a cycling fundraising event Tour De Vision
Hands-on experience is a better way of getting knowledge than a traditional classroom
programme. I had learned this in early days of my Job. Now when I am pursuing MBA, this
National level cycling event had taught me how I can implement my management skills by
taking care of different stakeholders at the same time. Under the guidance Nidhi Mam and
Rajesh Sir, our team for SOIL were able to make this event successful. I actually want to
thank ESHA foundation to give me this opportunity.

Rouble Munjal
Volunteer ESHA foundation
SOIL 2017-18

Nairit Joysula's experience with Esha - SOIL 2018 batch

As part of SOIL we have an SIP program, we have to associate with an NGO, and I chose Esha foundation. The reason why I chose Esha was because of the blind walk exhibited by the NGO founder. The blind walk was a really good way to show case what it is to feel when you do not have sight. Our objective was to conduct a TDV event, which is Tour De Vision.


The objective was to collect a little bit of funds to help the NGO run for an entire year. We were given freedom and autonomy, in the process of running the event, we also learnt about the challenges and even we became aware that how is to feel when you do not have vision.
What could do better next time, we should have our communication from the starting. From Esha, it can be having multiple events.

My next advice to the batch is you should understand the purpose of driving this is. Irrespective of the placement situation and the grading situation, if you understand the purpose properly, I think you will do everything by yourself
Nairit

Monday, February 26, 2018

Blilnd Walk @ Leisure Valley, Gurgaon - 24th Feb, 2018

On Saturday, Feb 24th, at 11 am, we conducted a Blind Walk at Leisure Valley, Gurgaon.


Harminder Soni and his wife Meera, Aditi Hingu and her son Vedant, and Md. Vohra, Siddharth Birla, and Rouble Munjal, students of SOIL, were the volunteers who helped at the event.


We had some Decathlon vouchers left over from the Tour de Vision event, so we were able to give out the vouchers to participants at the Blind Walk.


The pics are a combination of the 3 cameras. :)


But here is what I love about Blind Walks. When you tell people that they are going to have an eye opening experience in the next 10 minutes, they smile at you - that nice, indulgent smile that says, 'you're optimistic.'


10 minutes later, after just the first format, when they open their eyes, the indulgent smile is gone. The eyes are open as if they are seeing the world for the first time, and most of them are speechless. They are overwhelmed. Most of them take time to come back to reality, and then just nod their heads, part incredulous and part...well, speechless, unable to put what they are feeling into words. And it happens EVERY SINGLE TIME.




Harminder S Soni doing Audio Guidance with a participant

Nidhi guiding Vedant on the 3rd format while Md. Vohra and Meera Soni look on.

Meera Soni guides Aditi Hingu

The team at the end. Harminder and Meera had to leave at 1215, we continued till about 1240

Harminder Soni guiding Md. Vohra on his first Blind Walk. You have to experience it before you volunteer and guide others. Some of the participants look on.

One of the participants experiencing the Blind Walk

Monday, February 5, 2018

Experience of Handing out a Braille Card..

Every time I speak with people who got Braille done on their cards, I hear such beautiful stories of relationships, great first impressions, people who wonder and people who love..


Sharing one such story.. this time, I requested them to please speak on camera also...


Wednesday, January 31, 2018

When a simple blog gets noticed.. Thank you!

Today, I woke up to a pleasant surprise.. the Esha blog has been noticed and mentioned by the indiantopblogs:


http://www.indiantopblogs.com/2018/01/blogs-for-social-cause.html


As the readers of this blog are aware, this is a list and platform that I truly value because this is a list that is dominated by quality, not the blitz. The writing is simple and effective and the presentation is brief. In short, all substance and no jazz - just the way we like it.


Thank you so much, Indiantopblogs team!


In other news, preparation for Tour De Vision 2018 is in full swing and we hope you will make time to join us in our work for public space accessibility.


Feb 18, Shiv Nadar School, Gurgaon.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

13 years of being Esha


On Jan 5th, we completed 13 years of being Esha. In terms of work, this was easily one of our slowest years.


But there is much  to look forward to in 2018, so here's to fresh motivation!

Monday, January 1, 2018