Blind techie shows the way
A visually impaired software professional in Chennai has come out with an ‘open source voice-enabled software’, based on the LINUX system, for the benefit of others who are visually challenged.
Krishnakant says IT companies are reluctant to recruit the visually impaired as they have to install proprietory software, the licence for which costs a minimum of Rs 70,000 for each computer. His ‘ORCA software’, which allows the development of a free (open source) software, requires no licence and hence, reduces costs.
C. Umashankar, MD of the Electronic Corporation of Tamil Nadu, which is promoting the software, says an investment of Rs 5 lakh is required to install proprietory software, which can be shared by five visually impaired people. But with the new software, 22 computers can be installed.
The new product has facilities similar to any Windows-based software. All business functions and calculations apart from browsing and e-mail facilities are available. It reads not only what appears on the screen but also each function carried out by the user. It can also be modified according to the needs of the user and can be re-distributed. The English accent could be modified, language changed and any regional language introduced without altering basic programming code
Asked what inspired him to come up with such an innovation, Krishnakant says he was ridiculed when he chose his profession. “But I took it as a challenge and vowed to help all the visually impaired to work on computers.”