Two B Tech (first year) students from the Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology (Delhi) have developed tech innovations, one each for the elderly and the visually challenged. Arjun Raj and Raghul PK created Sahayak – The Smart Walking Stick and E-Vision – The low-cost Electronic Braille Device, respectively, as entries for a competition organised by IITDelhi, Social Innovation Challenge for Elderly.
“We have only reached the stage of raw prototyping wherein we use basic items to model the real prototype and exhibit the functionalities, but modelling a real prototype will require continuous research and work for at least six months so that we could bring out a highly efficient and user-friendly model,” says Raj. Sahayak is a smart stick with a variety of hi-tech features, especially a vacuum cup based gripper at the bottom to prevent slippage on wet surfaces.
“Also, with Sahayak, the user doesn’t have to bend down to pick up an object as the stick has an object grabber to grab small objects from the ground. It will be of great use to people with chronic back pain,” says Raj. The other important features include an SOS button accompanied with GSM module which on pressing, sends an SMS alert t o the family members and also rings an alarm. “It also has an object reminder based on RFID technology.
The personal belongings can be inserted with an RFID tag, while the RFID reader is embedded in the stick. So to find their stuff, the user just has to select the image from a mobile app and then walk around the house with the stick. Whenever you come near the desired object, the beeper will beep and the LED will start glowing,” informs Raj, whose ambition is to work for making the life of senior citizens easy. Just as Sahayak is for the elderly, E-Vision aims to make life easy for the over 13 million visually- challenged people across India for whom access to quality education is still a dream due to high cost of Braille tools (embossers/ printers/readers) and availability of Braille books.
Rather than the individual Braille dot actuation using piezo crystals which the modern-day electronic single-line Braille displays, E-Vision uses a single linear electromagnetic array that could raise a row of metallic dots. This electromagnetic array is moved across the screen using a Linear Actuation System, and in each row the required Braille dots are raised by making the respective electromagnetic coils active. This happens for all the rows in the Braille surface, before the final full-screen image/text is displayed, explains Raghul, adding, “The cost of this device would be less than Rs 10,000 while multiline Braille readers cost lakhs of rupees.
Thus this will make quality education affordable and accessible,” he says. This mechanism will help the visually challenged user to interact with the data on screen, just like a person with sight while using his/ her smartphone. “I started working on an accessible device for the visually challenged when I was in Class 10. But the idea of E-Vision struck during the Ideathon conducted by our college E-Cell where I presented the idea along with my friends Vijay and Arham. After, 6-7 versions and 8 months of research, I managed to develop the basic prototype that I had envisioned,” says Raghul, who wishes to become a social inventor.
IN A NUTSHELL
Sahayak is a smart stick with hi-tech features, especially a vacuum cup gripper to prevent slippage. Rather than the individual Braille dot actuation using piezo crystals which the modern-day electronic single-line Braille displays, E-Vision uses a single linear electromagnetic array that could raise a row of metallic dots.