Monday, June 2, 2014

Indian Android Application Would Help Hearing And Speech Impaired People

India has not been very receptive to the plights and rights of disabled population. Whether it is educational institutions or public employments, disabled population in India is always at the disadvantageous position. Whatever little efforts that have come to rescue of these people they have come from private individuals with no profit motive. One such initiative has been undertaken by a team of four girls from the Vishwakarma Institute of Information Technology (VIIT) who have developed an android application to bridge the communication gap that exists between hearing and speech impaired people and normal beings. 

In an attempt to utilise their technical skills for a social cause, four students in their final year of engineering—Apeksha Bhat, Shubhangi Yerolkar, Nisha Advani and Sayali Bora—have developed this app that may prove handy. Their efforts need to be taken further on a large scale and in other directions as well.

The application in question converts the sign language into speech that will help a hearing and speech impaired person talk to people who do not understand sign language. Conversely, the hearing and speech impaired person can know what the other person speaks as the application also converts verbal language back into sign language. 

Talking about what differentiates their app from others in the market, Bhat says, “Designing an app in Hindi and only using the Indian Standard Sign Language was the most-difficult aspect of the whole development process. It is this feature that distinguishes our app from the others in the Android market and serve a similar purpose”.

For the project, the girls visited the Aadhar Deaf School located at Bibvewadi, Pune, where they researched to understand the special needs of the hearing impaired students. “Sitting in their classrooms, interacting with their faculty and the principal was an eye-opener for us. We were inspired to contribute in whatever small way we could to bridge the communication gap between them and us,” said Yerolkar. While encourage the initiative, Bilavari Karkare, principal, VIIT, Pune, has asked the college management to sponsor a smartphone with the app installed to the Aadhar Deaf School.

I hope Indian government would encourage these courageous and public spirited young girls in the larger interest of Indian population that needs special facilities.