A new software developed by four engineering students enables visually challenged people to read documents from a computer. (File photo)
Four students of the Government Engineering College, Barton Hill, have come up with a device which could prove immensely useful to visually challenged people. Final year Electrical and Electronics Engineering students Vineeth Kartha, Dheeraj S Nair, Pranoy P and Sreekant S have developed the aptly named ‘Drishti’ which, according to them, enables visually challenged people to read documents from a computer.
Using ‘Drishti,’ they can navigate through e-books and other documents. Documents in pdf, doc, odt and txt formats can be ‘read’ using ‘Drishti.’
The file is opened using gesture controls on a touchpad, which also helps to navigate through the files. Each character from the opened file is sent to a micro-controller which generates signals depending on the braille pattern of each character. The signals activate six solenoids (coils wound into helix shape) arranged to form a single braille character display.
‘Drishti’ is an improvement on the text-to-speech synthesizers currently in use as a braille display can be used by a person who is both visual and hearing impaired, Vineeth said. “Currently similar devices are available in the market, but they cost between `1 and `3 lakh. In a country like ours, they are simply not affordable. Developing ‘Drishti’ cost us
`15,000, but if manufactured on a large scale, it can be marketed at `9000,” he said.
The four developed ‘Drishti’ for their final year project under the guidance of Dr P Jayaprakash, Head of the Department, Department of Electrical and Electronics, Government Engineering College, Barton Hill.The project also had financial assistance from the state government-run Centre for Engineering Research and Development (CERD). Open source software has been used to develop ‘Drishti.’ In fact, it was so decided that the technology is quickly available to the common man at an affordable cost. The device was tested at Insight, Vellayambalam, which is a joint initiative of Kerala State IT Mission and SPACE (Society for Promoting Alternative in Computing and Employment).