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Monday, Nov 18, 2019

At IIT Delhi conference, technological solutions for disabled

Organised in partnership with Microsoft India at IIT Delhi Techno Park in Sonipat, the three-day conference began on Tuesday and had several sessions over technological solutions for different disabilities.

education Updated: Oct 16, 2019 20:14 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
IIT Delhi in partnership with Microsoft India organized a three day conference in Sonipat. (Representational image)
IIT Delhi in partnership with Microsoft India organized a three day conference in Sonipat. (Representational image)(HT file)
         

“This is amazing. We have been waiting for something like this for far too long,” said Delhi University professor Abhishek Thakur, while browsing through products at Empower 2019, an assistive technology conference organised by Indian Institutes of Technology Delhi.

Thakur, who teaches postgraduate students studying Social Work at the varsity, was impressed by Kibo XS — a device that helps visually challenged people to read printed texts in real time. “Though there are softwares that convert printed text to audio. But they don’t help us read handwritten letters or notices in Indian languages in real time. This software helps bridge that gap,” said Thakur, adding that he was considering buying the device which was priced a little above Rs 25,000.

Organised in partnership with Microsoft India at IIT Delhi Techno Park in Sonipat, the three-day conference began on Tuesday and had several sessions over technological solutions for different disabilities. Kibo XS, which can read and translate ten Indian languages, was among the 30 odd innovations which was displayed at the conference.

M Balakrishnan, founder of AssisTech lab at IIT, said that since these products are produced low-volume, cost goes up. “Conferences like these help in networking and connecting innovators to impact investors who could fund their projects. This is the second edition of Empower and this time, instead of companies, we have more innovators as exhibitors,” he said.

The products and prototypes displayed at the conference focussed on mainly four categories — visual, hearing, motor and cognitive or learning disabilities. For instance, to improve neuro-rehabilitation therapy, fellows of healthcare entrepreneurship at IIT Hyderabad developed a device which would help people with upper motor deficits have more interesting therapy sessions. “We have games like roll a roti or burst a balloon which people would find more engaging and can be monitored as well,” said founder of BeAble Health, Habib Ali.

The other innovation and prototypes displayed at the event include speech-enabled and braille keyboard, all terrain crutch, speech therapy app to address stammering, and a company working with NCERT to produce tactile diagrams for the visually challenged students