EMPOWER CONFERENCE 2021

PRESENTING PAPERS

Designing A Tactile Display for Braille and Non-Braille Users

Research is ongoing for cost effective tactile readers which incorporate relative motion between the finger pad and the text. Here, a novel method of tactile sequential reading using the designed prototype reader is presented. The accuracy of reading words using this prototype was evaluated with 17 visually challenged users who know braille. The results showed no significant difference in accuracy when reading words using this prototype compared to braille reading on paper. After incorporating a slight modification in the design to benefit non-braille users, 10 blind-folded sighted individuals and 12 late-blind visually challenged users were also evaluated in reading words using the prototype. Overall, a good accuracy rate in reading words for the 39 users (98.62 % for blind braille readers, 90 % for blindfolded sighted users and 96.8 % for blind non-braille users) was obtained. These results form the basis in the development of a cost-effective tactile reader which can potentially benefit both groups of visually challenged users- those who know braille and those who do not. This work has been published in the journal Technology and Disability

AUTHORS

Anupama Thomas, Indian Institute of Technology-Madras, Tamil Nadu, India 

Elizabeth Rufus Vellore Institute of Technology, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India 

Design and development of an adaptive chair for children with motor disabilities

An adaptive chair is a seating device that provides appropriate postural control and thus improves the functional capabilities of individuals with motor impairments. A study of the adaptive chairs available in the Indian market shows that there is much room for improvement in the ergonomic and aesthetic aspects of the product. This study is to collect the exact requirements of the users and design an adaptive chair that is suitable and affordable for the Indian context. Seating experts, caregivers as well as end-users were involved in the development of the chair and the improvement in posture and participation by the users are to be analyzed using evidence-based outcome measures.

AUTHORS

Amritha, R S 

Kerala State Institute of Design (KSID), Kollam, Kerala, amrithars98@gmail.com 

Alok, Krishnan,T 

Kerala State Institute of Design (KSID), Kollam,Kerala,alokthayyil@gmail.com 

Akila, Surendran 

Centre for Assistive Technology& Innovation (CATI), National Institute of Speech& Hearing (NISH), Trivandrum,Kerala,akilas@nish.ac.in 

Experimental VALidation of findings using BCI in Autistic kids- (EVAL BCI)

An adaptive chair is a seating device that provides appropriate postural control and thus improves the functional capabilities of individuals with motor impairments. A study of the adaptive chairs available in the Indian market shows that there is much room for improvement in the ergonomic and aesthetic aspects of the product. This study is to collect the exact requirements of the users and design an adaptive chair that is suitable and affordable for the Indian context. Seating experts, caregivers as well as end-users were involved in the development of the chair and the improvement in posture and participation by the users are to be analyzed using evidence-based outcome measures.

AUTHORS

Reshmi Ravindranathan
Associate Consultant
Tata Consultancy Services,
Trivandrum, India
resmi.ravindranathan@tcs.com

Robin Tommy
Associate Consultant
Tata Consultancy Services,
Trivandrum, Indiarobin.tommy@tcs.com

Athira Krishnan R
System Engineer
Tata Consultancy Services,
Trivandrum, India
athira.krishnan2@tcs.com

Empowering Speech and Hearing Impaired: A Unified Fingerspelling System for Indic Scripts

Communication in the hearing and speech-impaired community happens through Sign Language (SL). SL is often used to communicate concepts and often falls short when individual words and characters  need to be communicated. Fingerspelling is adopted to spell out names of people and places. American Sign Language (ASL) uses a fingerspelling system that mimics the geometry of individual characters and works for Roman scripts like English. However, it is cumbersome to use ASL fingerspelling for Indian languages primarily due to the diversity and the abugida nature of Indic scripts. Indic scripts show a wide variation in the geometry of the individual characters though they have close resemblance phonetically. In this paper, we exploit the phonetic similarity across 10 major Indic scripts to propose a unified fingerspelling system, called Mudrabharati Fingerspelling (MFS). Unlike ASL which signs the shape of a character, MFS signs a character using its phonetic structure. As a consequence, MFS requires the uses of both the hands to distinguish consonants and vowels; Consonant-Vowel combinations, which are very common in Indic scripts are gestured by using both the hands simultaneously

AUTHORS

AMAL JUDE ASHWIN F, Bhupat & Jyoti Mehta School of Biosciences, Department of Biotechnology, IIT
Madras, India

SUNIL KUMAR KOPPARAPU, TCS Research, Tata Consultancy Services Limited, India

V. SRINIVASA CHAKRAVARTHY, Bhupat & Jyoti Mehta School of Biosciences, Department of Biotechnology, IIT Madras, India

Empowering Persons With Special Needs during examinations.

AUTHORS

Sanjay Mukherjee, Dr. Charudatta Jadhav, Mahadevan Venkatakrishnan

Speech Therapy System for Children with Cleft Lip and/or palate

In India, Cleft Lip/Palate is a common congenital craniofacial deformity. These are openings in the lip and (or) palate. Various charities, such as Smile Train and Transforming Faces provide free cleft lip and palate surgeries. The child requires constant monitoring and therapy by speech therapists, after surgery. For very small children, therapy can be made more effective with the use of technology developed in close association with speech therapists. Often, multiple surgeries are required according to the age and growth of the child, as determined by the doctors. The therapy offered after each stage of the cleft treatment is different. The proposed speech therapy system is an affordable therapeutic system to provide training for correct articulation of words. The technique uses Support Vector Machine (SVM) to recognize speech based on features using Mel-Frequency Cepstral Coefficients (MFCC). This project aims at enhancing the learning experience of speech production for patients who have undergone cleft lip or palatal surgeries by developing a cleft suite which adopts the Supervised Learning algorithm. A GUI has been developed for selected syllables which aids the therapists/parents to train the affected patient to articulate words in the correct manner. The system will help the young patient to correctly articulate the words through practice. This will greatly increase the effectiveness of the surgery done for the patients, by easing the burden on the therapist and capturing the interest of the young patients (4 – 7 years of age).

AUTHORS

Aneeta Sabu, Deepthi G.A.*, Sowmiya V., V.S. Devika, Lani Rachel Mathew, Amritha B.J.
Department of Electronics and Communication,
Mar Baselios College of Engineering and Technology,
Trivandrum, India
deepthianilkumar26@gmail.com

Improving the Efficacy of the Virtual Indian Sign Language Interpreter

An improved version of a virtual Indian sign-language interpreter that functions upon translation of the Indian Sign Language grammar, using the avatars. The pipeline of the system consists of a rule-based English-to-ISL gloss Machine translation framework followed by an animation module using hand-crafted animations playing the output sequentially. ISL follows its own form of sequenced grammar much different from the English grammar. The team studied through all possible resources to understand and implement the logic to generate the right sequence and use the appropriate set of words. The program utilized Natural Language Processing tools and libraries along with certain Deep Learning based approaches to follow meticulous details. 

AUTHORS

Ankit Rajiv Jindal 

Friends for Inclusion 

ankitrajivjindal@gmail.com 

 

Mahesh Raja 

Friends for Inclusion 

maheshbamdc@gmail.com 

 

Sparsh Nagpal 

Friends for Inclusion 

0sparsh2@gmail.com 

 

Rahul Murthy 

Friends for Inclusion 

dopaminedimension@gmai.com  

Voice to Indian Sign Language Translator

Sign language is a natural way of conversation for disabled people with speech and hearing impairments. It is a non-verbal visual language that is characterized by manual and non-manual signs. Non-manual signs embody facial expressions, head tilting, shoulder raising, mouthing, etc. whereas manual signs include fingerspelling which may be used to signify a word from a spoken language, by spelling out the letters, etc. Indian Sign Language, generally referred to as ISL, is one of the popular sign languages used by people with speech and hearing disabilities to communicate. However, communication with vocal people is not possible as they are not well versed in sign language. This paper proposes a system named Voice to Indian Sign Language Translator that facilitates communication amongst vocal and hearing-impaired people. This is achieved by converting voice to text, which is further translated into corresponding sign language using Natural Language Processing. Experimental results show that the sign language translation provides a fairly good accuracy with commonly spoken English sentences.

AUTHORS

Prasanna Shete, Pranjali Jadhav, Dikshita Jain, Pearl Kotak J. Somaiya College of Engineering, University of Mumbai, Vidyavihar

“We Want the Moon”: An Exploration of the Possibility of making Astronomy Accessible for the Visually Impaired Learners

Astronomy occurred as a result of curiosity of unknown which placed in human nature and depend on observation that is inseparable part of science. But the same field of knowledge remains largely inaccessible for the visually impaired ( V I ) learners due to societal misconceptions about their abilities on one hand as well as an abstract nature of the subject and high focus on visual representations for its transaction on the other.

AUTHORS

Dr. Kalpana Kharade

 Department of Education

 

K J Somaiya College of Education, Somaiya Vidyavihar University, Mumbai,Maharashtra,India

 

 

 

Dr. Hema Bhadawkar 

Department of Education, K J Somaiya College of Education, Somaiya Vidyavihar University, Mumbai,Maharashtra,India

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