Talking oximeter, smart gloves, vibrating device for dyslexia on display at exhibition of assistive technologies
Xavier’s Resource Centre for the Visually Challenged from Mumbai had many devices on display including a magnification software to enable visually impaired people to read, a talking oxymeter and a motion-detecting walking stick
Mumbai: Technology has time and again proved to be a great enabler of people with disability. Several such assistive technologies developed by NGOs and start-ups from around the country were showcased during a demonstration on Friday organised by the CSR wing of Tata Power.
Xavier’s Resource Centre for the Visually Challenged from Mumbai had many devices on display including a magnification software to enable visually impaired people to read, a talking oxymeter and a motion-detecting walking stick. Keshavan Nadar, a faculty of the Centre said that visual, aural or other impairments were no longer a hindrance in one’s academic, social or professional endeavours. “There are ATMs that are accessible to differently abled people now. We have worked with Akasa Air to have their safety manual as well as the menus of many restaurants published in Braille,” he said. Nadar’s student, Dhanashree, gave a demonstration on how visually impaired people could take notes at work or during lectures.
Students from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT-B) presented a software that could help in the diagnosis of learning disabilities while also doubling up as an intervention tool. Another device that the students are still working on is a wearable contraption to help children with dyslexia (reading difficulty) and dyscalculia (problems with numbers). The IIT-B team’s device employs a different vibration for each letter/number so that a child associates the letter/number with a particular stimulus. The team included doctoral student Ankit Mishra, who himself has dyscalculia.
Cochin based speech-language pathologist Elizabeth Thomas presented her platform Phonologix, which equips parents of children needing speech therapy to become co-therapists. The resources provided by her programme gamifies the process, making it fun for the kids. Nashik-based start-up Kidaura’s app equips both parents and therapists to provide better support to kids with autism. This can be done by maintaining an in-app digital journal of all behavioural challenges, and the education plan and therapy of the kids.
Ahmedabad-based NGO Torch-It also showcased several of its devices, including flexo crutches that can greatly improve the mobility of the person using them, smart gloves that help the hearing- and speech-impaired communicate with people around them and a cart to enable movement in people with no lower limbs.
The Tata Power event was inclusive not just in showcasing assistive technologies but in every respect. It had a flute performance by an artist associated with Atypical Advantage, a platform that helps neurodiverse individuals get livelihood opportunities. The catering was done by Café Arpan which employs several individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Pay Autention: India’s first phygital Autism Support Network
After launching the Pay Autention initiative in April, the CSR wing of Tata Power intends to take it forward by creating a phygital support network for kids with autism. This will enable children in small towns and villages to access several learning resources that are only available in bigger cities right now. Aanganwadi workers and primary teachers will also be equipped to enable counselling and handholding wherever necessary. All these resources will also be available online for free use by any parent or teacher who may need them.
In partnership with the Center for Autism and other Disabilities Rehabilitation Research and Education (CADRRE) from Thiruvananthapuram, the Tata Power CSR wing now intends bringing all stakeholders, including government, corporates, academics and parents on the same platform. The intention is to create a national-level auxiliary network with government support, and the corporate is working towards launching it on World Disability Day on December 3. The network can be reached through helpline number 18002099499.