Emerging technologies: Sight problems no bar to using a computer

IIIT-NR researchers have developed human-computer interface app that allows the visually challenged to operate a PC without assistance.

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The app works on a Braille-based reading system and speech enable-based system which facilitates fast learning for visually challenged people by using speech recognition techniques.

India has a huge number of visually challenged people, many of whom have unique skills. Given the rapid strides technology has made in recent years, imagine a solution that could enable the visually challenged to operate a PC without any assistance and make a difference to the world of technology! Well, researchers at the International Institute of Technology, Naya Raipur (IIIT NR) have done precisely that: they have come up with a human- computer interface app for visually challenged people that converts into text anything the user says, with the app helping with the search based on the user’s requirements. IIIT NR Director Pradeep Sinha said, “adding this app to their learning system will not only take the community forward but also benefit the country at large.”

The app works on a Braille-based reading system and speech enable-based system which facilitates fast learning for visually challenged people by using speech recognition techniques. The  innovation provides a system and a method of real-time learning for such people through speech characteristics based on collected voice data. The app has a two-way communication process, which means it even queries the user, so as to provide the best outputs. Through this app, online learning can become much easier for those facing issues with their eyesight. Some of the characteristics of the app are:

— The app converts text into speech.

— Web Page readers can read the text from a web page and can come up with a particular search.

— The technology also allows visually challenged people to enter braille text through a braille keyboard.

Currently, the visually impaired and the blind can benefit from assistive systems comprising a wide range of technical solutions, including document scanners and enlargers, interactive speech recognition synthesis-based tools, software system and cognitive tools, screen reader and mathematics software and screen enlargement programmes. “The innovation will bring about a dramatic change in the lives of visually challenged people,” said Santosh Kumar, principal researcher and innovator of the app.

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