New India ushering in opportunities for the visually-impaired
Hassle-free, independent access to the digital world has emerged as a key factor in everyday living, education, and work. With the vision of enabling visually impaired persons to compete and succeed independently in any office or educational environment, students from IIT-Delhi developed the ‘DotBook’. It is India’s first Braille laptop for visually impaired user. Pulkit Sapra and Suman Muralikrishnan both after 5 years of research launched India’s first laptop for visually impaired user.
Laptop for visually impaired user: What’s different?
This particular laptop for the visually impaired user is manufactured, maintained and marketed by Kritkal Solutions. Two versions of this have been launched; a 20 cell and 40 cell version- each referring to the number of characters displayed in one line. Instead of a screen, the laptop displays embossed text in Braille through a touchpad. Users get to feel everything a website has by touching the pad. This laptop for visually impaired user comes with a 4GB internal storage and is expandable up to 64 Gb. It is built in Linux. The 20-cell variant has Perkins Keys, while the 40-cell one has a QWERTY keyboard, both a price of INR 40,000 and 60,000 respectively. This device can be connected with mobile phones and other laptops to provide a visual display for sighted persons.
Aiming at social and digital inclusion for the visually impaired, the duo said that variants of DotBook are available in the international market, but they cost around USD 2,500. Whereas the indigenously created product is much cheaper, and would also be disbursed for free by IIT Delhi to underprivileged students. DotBook is built on IIT Delhi’s patented Shape Memory Alloy Technology that helps bring this cost down by almost 75%. And thus helping make this solution accessible to the millions who were previously un-catered to. This becomes very significant as low-income countries to over 90% of the world’s visually impaired population.
The Way Forward
As compared to international devices, this Make in India laptop for visually impaired user, is more affordable, and there is need to make it even more accessible in the future with the help of government subsidies or similar schemes. Currently, they will be up for sale through partners like Saksham and would be available on online platforms.
Being digital in today’s world plays a very pivotal role and more so for the visually impaired, where the current infrastructure provides very little support. This laptop for visually impaired user can help immensely in this issue.
DotBook creates an ecosystem that allows people who read and write in Braille, to communicate seamlessly with the rest of the world using normal print. It addresses issues such as social inclusion and creating equal opportunities in education and employment.
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