New chip on the learning block is a tool to educate | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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New chip on the learning block is a tool to educate

mumbai Updated: Feb 07, 2011 01:45 IST

Innovation: Software application 'Explore' for the visually challenged
Workplace: VES Institute of Technology, Chembur
Category: Innovation by students

This four-member team first tasted success for its software application ‘Explore’ last year when they claimed top position at the Accessibility Local Innovation Award at the Microsoft Imagine Cup.

“The education system finds itself handicapped when coping with children who are physically challenged,” said Samiran Saha, a final-year computer science engineering student.

“Our project aims at enabling such individuals to educate themselves and discover the virtual world of the computer by following the ‘learn, connect, share and collaborate’ principle.”

The programme is aimed at those who are blind, partially blind, colour blind, have low vision, basic cognitive problems or poor motor skills. Explore is based on automation and speech interfaces so as to allow easy interpretation of the web pages. Having started work on the application in 2009, the team has developed keyboard-simulated Braille on the existing keyboard with six keys acting as Braille keys. Using a combination of these keys, the text punched in by the visually impaired person will get translated into English or Hindi. Apart from being compatible with Windows, the software also allows access to social networking sites such as Facebook.

The team has scheduled real time deployment of the programme in July. “Initially, we intend to execute a random pilot run for the application, and later extend its scope on a nationwide scale,” said Saha.