The device that helped paralysed animator Charu Khandal communicate without speaking has won its maker, Prabhat Ranjan, an award.
The National Center for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP) announced its Mphasis Universal Design Awards last week, naming Ranjan as an awardee.
“The award will help bring the benefit of this technology to many more people. Even the medical community in India does not know about its possibilities yet,” said Ranjan, a professor at Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information and Communication Technology, Gujarat.
The device comprises a neuro-headset. The sensors in the headset translate head or eyelid movements into computer commands. While blinking translates into a right or left click, head movements can be used to move the cursor.
Last month, it was used by Khandal, who was paralysed neck down after being injured in a drink driving accident. It was developed by international firm Emotiv and adapted by Ranjan. It aims to help patients who have normal brain functions, but suffer from quadriplegia.
Khandal, who was discharged from Kokilaben Dhirubai Ambani Hospital (KDAH), Andheri, on June 29, is the fourth patient in India to have used the headset developed by Ranjan.
“There is such a dearth of facilities for disabled people in India that they cannot lead a dignified life. Very few people work to make their lives better. We want to recognise the ones who do,” said Javed Abidi, head of NCPEDP.
“It is important for patients to regain movement and innovators like Ranjan can make a difference,” said Dr Ram Narain, executive director, KDAH.