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Assistive Technology For Vision Impaired People

Ranjani Saigal

IIT Alumni of Greater New England (IITAGNE) along with Vision Aid hosted a virtual seminar featuring a talk by Prof. M. Balakrishnan on the work done by AssisTech,  an interdisciplinary group of faculty, research staff and students at IIT Delhi which is engaged in using modern technology for finding affordable solutions for the visually impaired on March 20. 

The focus is on mobility and education which we consider are fundamental to enable any person to live independently and with dignity. Apart from working on specific solutions based on needs identified by the users themselves, AssisTech is working to create an ecosystem that helps sensitize and ignite a number of young minds towards real day-to-day challenges of the differently abled.

The event opened with a welcome by Roopesh Mathur, president of IITAGNE.  IITAGNE is an organization by the IIT Alumni in New England. They host technology panels, a data science competition and have launched a 3 D Printer initiative. They own 3 D Printers and are using it to print PPEs for healthcare workers and E-Enable, printing prosthetic hands. Following the introduction to IITAGNE, Ramakrishna Raju founder of VisionAID talked about Vision Aid which provides tools to support low vision people in India. 

Dr. Balakrishnan from AssisTech detailed the many devices that have been developed in their group specifically for India and the developing world. SmartCaneTM Device, OnBoardTM, a bus route identification system, TacRead, a tactile readout device, NVDA, non-visual desktop access tool, Tactile Graphics production tools and RAVI a Reading Assistant for Visually Impaired are tools that show tremendous potential. Dr. Balakrishnan detailed the opportunities and challenges in using the tools. 

Attendees engaged in Q and A. The event included a few comments from Puran Dang and Partha Gosh, alumni of IIT Kharagpur. 

It was an insightful event that showed us the great promise that technology holds to help the differently abled.

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