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Reading without seeing: A special app for VI PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 03 May 2018 10:02

Reading without seeing: A special app for the visually impaired (VI)

NEW DELHI: How do the visually impaired read? This was the central question at the launch of “Simply Reading”, an android application that aims to “unlock digital reading” for people who struggle with more complex touchscreen solutions.

The application, developed by DAISY Consortium, a network of NGOs from 55 countries, as a part of Standard Chartered Bank’s CSR initiative, connects to online libraries like the Sugamya Pustakalaya and allows books, usually available in print format, to be converted into audio. Once downloaded on a smartphone, the app can also convert these print formats into Braille and project them on electronic screens, also called “Paperless Braille”, to be used by the visually-impaired.

The app recognizes at least 7 Indian languages, including Hindi, Bengali, Kannada, Bhojpuri and Marathi.

Jagmohan Malhotra, who has served as lieutenant governor (LG) of Delhi and Goa and governor of Jammu and Kashmir, launched the app at the India Habitat Centre on Wednesday. Malhotra also released an “accessible” copy of his book, “My frozen turbulence in Kashmir” digitally, to be downloaded and read by people on the app for free.

Dipendra Manocha, president of the DAISY Forum of India and founder of Saksham, an NGO that has been developing holistic reading and writing solutions in Indian languages with its partner organisations, said: “The development of affordable reading devices in Indian languages and Braille presses connected to a common online platform, having a collection of 3.5 lakh accessible forma books, will benefit at least 5.3 million people with blindness of low vision.”

Dinesh Kaushal, a visually-impaired software developer, who has been working with Sapient India on Non Visual Desktop Access (NVDA) for the last one decade, said: “The concept of assistive technology, though new, could democratise the resources by making it accessible to all.”

Anil Prajapati, a visually-impaired technology enthusiast from Saksham said one of the biggest challenges for Indian students was the cost involved in procuring these technologies.

“The app, however, will cater to everyone because it can be downloaded for free on any android-enabled smartphone,” he added.

Source: The Times of India May 3, 2018 edition

Last Updated on Thursday, 03 May 2018 10:07

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