New 3D technology to preserve palm leaf manuscripts

Palm leaf manuscripts cover a wide range of subjects like Astronomy, Architecture, Law, Music and Medicine.

Published: 17th August 2022 04:54 AM  |   Last Updated: 17th August 2022 08:21 AM   |  A+A-


Image used for representational purpose only. (Photo | EPS)

Express News Service

HYDERABAD: On the evening of Independence Day, the Telangana State Innovation Cell honoured Dr Panyam Narahari Sastry, a professor at Chaitanya Bharathi Institute of Technology (CBIT) for introducing an innovative technology that involves the use of a special 3D feature to recognise characters in the ancient palm leaf manuscripts through Artificial Intelligence.

The project was carried out in cooperation with CBIT professor Dr N V Koteswara Rao and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) scientist Dr R Krishnan, who was granted a patent for the 3D technique by Intellectual Property India in July. 

These palm leaf manuscripts cover a wide range of subjects like Astronomy, Architecture, Law, Music and Medicine. However, as palm leaves are highly susceptible to deterioration due to different climatic conditions, dust and various other aspects, digitisation has become a necessity in order to preserve those for posterity. 

“Scanning these manuscripts is not an ideal method as they leave black patches on the paper. To overcome this problem, we taught the computer to identify distinguishable characters written on manuscripts,” said Dr Narahari, the main inventor of the technology.

The special 3D feature was introduced by him to enable the computer to identify each letter in Telugu language. “We used a database to identify how much pressure the scribbler had put on which letter. This even helped the computer to identify the letters that were eaten by termites or rats,” he added.

The manuscripts were provided to him by Oriental Research Institute and Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeeth of Tirupati for this purpose. A teflon-based needle was used to scan and input the palm leaf characters into the computing device, avoiding the regular scanning mechanism. Use of Artificial Intelligence algorithms led to 95 per cent recognition accuracy.

Dr Narahari’s team, which received a Rs 7,31,000 fund from the All India Council for Technical Education in Delhi for the project, is now trying to tie up with Microsoft and HP for further development of its concept. “The technology is already established. We now need to scale it up. For this, more equipment is needed,” Dr Narahari explained.


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