|Empowerment of Disabled|
1. Women Empowerment through Shruti-Drishti
Department of Information Technology (DIT), Ministry of Communication & IT, Govt. of India is implementing project “Women Empowerment through Shruti-Drishti” through Media Lab Asia (a section 25 company promoted by DIT), C-DAC (a scientific society of DIT) and WML (a govt. of West Bengal undertaking). Under the project, the noble activity of deploying Shruti-Drishti (Text-to-Speech & Text-to-Braille) system integrated with Braille Embosser, Tactile Reader & Braille keyboard in 40 Girls/Co-Ed Blind Schools across the country has been undertaken. The system enables visually impaired to browse internet using minimum key combinations and is able to cater the need of content for print disabled children in schools. A three days training on operation of the system is also provided to special teachers/computer instructors of the schools.
Shruti Drishti has an option of presenting the displayed information in a verbal mode using a speech synthesizer or in the Braille format. The verbal mode of information representation provides descriptive information on all events of a web page, including links, buttons, check box, text etc. It is keyboard event driven and provides ‘keyboard only’ accessibility using a minimal set of keys. It also provides a large text window for partially sighted users and a standard web page browser to enable users to work together with sighted workers. Shruti Drishti is a combination of Text to Speech [TTS] & Text to Braille [TTB] application - to provide high-value integrated Web Browsing through listening anytime, anyplace.
The system has also received Golden Icon Award in the ‘Trail Blazing application of the year New Entrant Category’ at the 8th National Conference on eGovernance  from the Department of Administrators Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG), Govt. of India & the Government of Orissa.
The system has already been deployed in 40 Schools across the country.
1. The Poona School & Home for the Blind Girls,
The feedback from the schools is found to be positive.
2. Visual Language
• Multimedia communication tool for the cerebral palsy affected.
• This project examines new methods of representing the meaning of words and sentences using visual representations to the specially challenged.
• The initial goal is to design an interlingua (a language independent representation of meaning) for limited domain communication.
• This research has been applied to develop a communication tool that provides the disabled with an ability to communicate.
3. Sanyog™:(Indian Language based Communication Tool for children with Cerebral Palsy)
Sanyog is a multilingual Augmentative & Alternative Communication system, developed at Media Lab Asia research hub at IIT Kharagpur, to serve individuals with speech impairment and neuro-motor disorders. It allows individuals to form and vocalize their own messages. The system is comprised of a Natural Language Sentence Generator, Icon Interpretation and Disambiguation, Text-to-Speech System, a predictive virtual keyboard, facility to store and retrieve frequently used messages, and varied access switches. At present, the system supports three languages, namely Bengali, Hindi and English. The system has been deployed at IICP, Kolkata; AADI, New Delhi; NIMH, Hyderabad and Manovikas Kendra, Kolkatta, where it is being used by a number of students with special needs, facilitating improved communication with teachers and parents. A multilingual communication system with particular application to needs of the children with neuro-motor disorders has been acclaimed by the Engineering Society of Detroit, Michigan and The National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Michigan Chapter, USA by “DA Vinci” Award. Phase-II of Sanyog is in pipeline. The aim in this phase is to develop embedded version of Verb Directed Sanyog as well as enhancement of Desktop version. This includes - Object Directed iconic interface, Generation of sentences from Phrasal Icons instead of Word level icons and Study of multi-sentence text generation with icons.
Sanyog-II, an AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) system for children with cerebral palsy, has been test deployed at AADI (Action for Ability, Development and Inclusion) School, New Delhi.
Shruti has been developed at Media Lab Asia research hub at IIT Kharagpur. It is an embedded Indian language Text-to-Speech system that accepts text inputs in two Indian languages - Hindi and Bengali, and produces near natural speech output. Facility has also been provided to enter the text in ITRANS, using which the Indian language text can be entered using Roman characters. The system has been ported to popular Windows based PDAs. Shruti provides a speech based communication interface for a large number of Indians suffering from speech impairments and forms an integral part of a talking web browser for the visually challenged. Shruti has been deployed at following locations for field trial - IICP, Kolkatta; AADI, New Delhi; Monovikas Kendra, Kolkatta; NIMH, Hyderabad, IIT, Delhi for integration with file reader software, NAB, Delhi for integration with SAFA. Now Phase II of the project has been taken up aiming development of Vernacular Speech Recognition system. The purpose is to develop a Continuous, speaker independent speech recognizer for Hindi and Bangla and an open corpus of tagged speech data. Speech recognition system will consist of following parts –
-Word Boundary Detection
In phase-II, emphasis is on developing a data corpus by collecting data in different environments.
5. Screen Reading Software - SAFA (Screen Access for All)
From the day of dawn of the computer technology, it has affected the lives of millions of people, including the lives of visually challenged persons. Advances in synthetic speech have lead to the development of screen reader software, which can capture text from the computer and transform it into the audio form, which is then used by the visually impaired persons or person with low vision.
This technology has provided innumerous opportunities to the visually impaired persons including the jobs as programmers, call centers, venturing in to new fields such as science & math, and others.
Although screen-reading technology has provided such a power to the visually impaired persons, it has hardly reached to the broader population in India & has remained limited to a small fortunate English-speaking minority.
The major issue with this category of assistive technology is that most products are extremely expensive and are beyond the reach of visually impaired persons at least in developing countries.
Media Lab Asia & NAB Delhi have jointly developed the screen reading software named SAFA. This is an open source software & supports many Indian languages. It is being provided free of charge by NAB Delhi. The users have the option of purchasing additional Text To Speech (TTS) softwares for better synthetic voice output from SAFA.
SAFA can detect the text language on the fly and calls the relevant TTS for speaking it. So now one can have a multilingual document and read it with SAFA at one go without having to change or install TTS again & again. The latest version of SAFA is supporting the following TTS in different Indian languages -
- eSpeak – English, Hindi, Tamil
- Shruti – Hindi, Bangla
- VAACHAK – English, Hindi, Marathi
- Ashrir – Bangla, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu
To add to this list, the developers have made it very easy to add any new language in SAFA whether Indian or foreign. As & when SAPI 5 compliant TTS becomes available for any new language such as Sinhala, all that will be required to do is some changes in the SAFA configuration file and after that SAFA will start supporting that language with speech. This kind of configuration can be done by the user itself. SAFA is being developed & refined continuously as per the features wish list & feedback received from users.
Increasing User’s Base
After the official launch of SAFA (Screen Access for All) on 12th March 2008 at India International Center, the Query about this software has suddenly increased on Helpline. We are receiving around 25 calls weekly about this software which contains
All these show that the user’s base of SAFA is increasing day by day. Apart from this the Name of SAFA is also available in Wikipedia page. The address of Wiki page is -
Feedback from the users shows SAFA is better as compared to JAWS for Hindi
The user comments for SAFA are extremely encouraging. Many users who are using SAFA in there Office for daily work like Hindi typing and other routine work, they are saying that this software has given them new life and motivation of working in office environment where they can enjoy work and as well as the company of there office co-workers. The school and college going students are also happy as now they can type Hindi assignments and papers as per there knowledge and they don’t need to depend on other for complete these important work.
The comparison between SAFA and Jaws for Hindi can be understood from table given below
According to this comparison one can automatically identify the importance of SAFA in user point of view
6. Digital Library of e-Text and Audio Content
A talking book is an audio cassette recording of the printed world. Media Lab Asia in collaboration with NAB, Delhi produces hundreds of talking books every year covering a range of topics from school and university textbooks to classics, fiction, poetry and short stories. Persons above 5 years of age can avail the library services by depositing a refundable security deposit of Rs. 100/- for 5 audio cassettes.NAB-Delhi is now become a resource centre for the implementation of DAISY Digital Talking Book Production and dissemination in India. All new books recorded at our Talking Book Library from November 2002 are recorded in digital format and are now available both on CD and in audio cassettes.To download the latest catelogue click the following link:
Media Lab Asia in collaboration with Indian Institute of Technology (Department of Computer Science and Engineering), New Delhi is developing a “Smart Cane” for persons with visual impairment. The project aims at developing 2 devices –
Device 1: Waist-above obstacle detection and warning system that can be attached to the white cane used by person with visual impairment.
Media Lab Asia in collaboration with Webel Mediatronics Limited (WML), Kolkatta, a Government of West Bengal undertaking has made available Rabindra Rachnaboli, a compilation of the work of Shri Rabindra Nath Tagore, in embossed form to all the government aided Blind Schools of West Bengal with support from Media Lab Asia. The entire Rabindra Rachnaboli has been transcribed in Braille Script.
Media Lab Asia is working with Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI) – (a statutory body under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment) for initiating interactive programs through Edusat for students, parents, trainee teachers and professionals associated with and engaged in different areas of disabilities like mental retardation, visual impairment, autism, cerebral palsy and multiple disabilities etc. The project also aims to set up a “Comprehensive Internet Portal - Punarbhava (punarbhava.in)” providing all the related information regarding different disabilities issues. This portal has been hosted by Media Lab Asia.
Media Lab Asia along with Webel Mediatronics Limited (WML), Kolkatta, a Government of West Bengal undertaking is going to Supply, Install and Commission computerized Braille Transcription system at 130 Blind Schools throughout the country. The schools will be selected based upon the infrastructure of the school and number of systems that can be absorbed in the school. The system addresses the need of reading, writing, printing and learning Braille in a Blind School. The system supports text-to-Braille and Braille-to-text conversion in English and 12 major Indian languages.
CDAC-Thiruvanthapuram is setting up a distance training facility using Edusat connectivity for special educators and other rehabilitation professionals with support from Media Lab Asia. It provides a scalable pilot infrastructure facility for imparting distance training for the trainers in the field of special education. Transmitting end has been set up at Special Education School-KVM trust, Cherathala, Kerala and SIT at 7 special Schools in Kerala
Media Lab Asia with Webel Mediatronics Limited (WML), Kolkatta, a Government of West Bengal undertaking is developing Multimedia CDs to support Activity based nursery rhymes book “Bagher Chakri” in Bengali for “Inclusive Education” and all round mental development of all types of children. Under this project 3000 copies of CDs will be distributed to all type of children in West Bengal and outside.
Vaani is a communication device for empowerment of the persons with speech impairment enabling them to select and play pre-recorded messages of their choice. Test deployments have been done at AADI, The Spastics Society of Northern India, Delhi.
|Last Updated on Thursday, 20 October 2016 16:48|