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08 August 2012


Bapsi's revolutionary technology for the deaf-blind gets recognition

For those who are both deaf and blind communication is the biggest concern, since they cannot use the usual means. This denies them education, health and many other essential services. Bapsi's project Vibrations is a significant breakthrough, making it possible for them to communicate independently using a smart phone.

PocketSMS, a free Android mobile app enabling them to send and receive text messages independently, was launched recently. PocketSMS is the first effort in the world to  introduce electronic communications to the deaf-blind. 

This first product in the Vibrations series runs on Android-based mobile phones which are today available for less than US$100. The phone communicates information to a deaf-blind person via Morse code: when the phone vibrates for a short duration, that represents a dot, and a longer duration vibration is used for the dash.

After making possible for them to text, Bapsi seeks to bring a variety of other information to them via the Internet. Wikipedia, twitter, and multiple language support are in the pipeline.

The user needs to learn morse code for using PocketSMS, and hence a simple Morse Trainer has been written to learn morse independently using the smart phone.

The apps have been written by Anmol Anand, a Student Intern, under the guidance of Professor Arun Mehta who is the Founder and President of Bapsi. The app is available for free download at bapsi.org website. It works on any Android Smartphone and tablet PC. Help in form of video and printable text is also available for the caregiver.

In India, services for persons with multiple disabilities, like the deaf-blind are almost negligible. As an indication of the degree of neglect, we do not even have an accurate count of deaf-blind population in India. The Census does not count them, and National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) 1992 had no category for them. Sense International (www.senseintindia.org/) estimates that there are more than 4,85,000 (as seen on 03 August 2012) such children in India.

Bapsi is looking for deaf-blind users to use this free technology.

Arun Mehta, informs, “Bapsi undertakes the development of mobile apps under its Summer Internship and Training Programme, where young technology students are trained in cutting-edge technologies and are encouraged to write for the disabled during their summer vacations. Among students, there is growing interest for hands-on training and apps writing for smart phones. This makes it possible for us to provide software for free.”

“The products in the project Vibrations will have tremendous benefit for its users, by encouraging them to seek information independently. The project will also impact the efficiency of the caregivers, who are mostly women, since the people in their care will be able to communicate without 24x7 manual interventions.”

xxx

More Info:

http://www.bapsi.org/vibrations-series-of-products-for-deafblind

Videos related to the project:

SMS for the deaf blind - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jisK0N7JF4. The film has received Special Mention at the We Care Film Festival 2012 (Disability Film Festival).
VIBRATIONS series of mobile apps - www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtnCwwXvwYA
Morse Trainer for Deaf Blind - www.youtube.com/watch?v=ULKVHT_ptmI
Android input for the Deaf-Blind: Graffiti - www.youtube.com/watch?v=eQPWs-RfqK0
Downloading and Installing PocketSMS  - www.youtube.com/watch?v=3zWIMq2-nJo
 

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