As students of Vivekanand Education Society’s Institute of Technology in Chembur, Amit Kulkarni, 22 and Shailesh Lohia, 21 would occasionally meet a particular blind student.
A casual conversation with him revealed just how difficult it was for the visually impaired to use the computer or access educational materials online.“We then realised we had to come up with something that would dynamically convert images online into a format that the visually challenged could access.”
This moment of awakening led the duo to create such a device over ten months. Their innovation, a tactile tablet, changes icons, diagrams and images into a format that the visually challenged can access simply by touching the screen.
The device has now been selected as one of two entries from the country to be showcased at the final round of the Imagine Cup. The Cup, instituted by Microsoft, is an annual international technology contest for students and will be held at New York in July this year. Last year, 3.25 lakh students from around the world had participated in the competition.
Kulkarni and Lohia competed in three rounds before being announced as the national winners in the “Embedded Development” category in Delhi. on Thursday. They have created applications for popular websites such as Wikipedia, Twitter and Facebook, among others, so the software retrieves information from these and processes it into a format that can be accessed by a mere touch.