Handy gadget fits into the port of a smartphone’s charging port or earphone jack
Four students from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras, have come together to develop an assistive device that fits into the port of a smartphone and helps visually impaired persons type, learn and read Braille content.
The handy device also allows them to self-navigate through space and recognise people and objects.
Sundar Raman P., a final-year electrical engineering student; Adil Mohammed K. and Shivam Maheshwari, second- and third-year students of engineering design; and Andrea Elizabeth Biju, a second-year student of aerospace engineering; improvised on an existing technology that allows visually impaired people to read PDF files on their phones.
The existing technology is a complicated exercise as the reader has to carry a separate device. The four students of IIT Madras tweaked the technology to ensure that it works on a smartphone and uses its capabilities. The team came up with Cube, a compact device that fits into the smartphone’s charging port or earphone jack.
“It has four refreshable Braille cells (24 dots) on one side and a camera on the other. The camera on the device, along with the smartphone’s camera, is used to capture and process (computer vision) a wide field of view to provide the user navigation information through tactile Braille cells about the proximity and nature of the obstacles. The refreshable Braille cells project symbols to convey time, proximity to obstacles etc. and help in learning and typing on the smartphone in Braille,” Raman told the media.
“Currently, visually impaired people rely on slow audio feedback to type. But Cube intends to change that. The device can be folded to the back of the phone using a flexible connector,” Raman added.
The device has a keyboard through which visually impaired people can type the way we type on a Braille typewriter.
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