Technology March 9, 2019
BDD Assist aims to revolutionise lives of blind and deaf people, gets mixed reviews
Modern technology through assistive devices and artificial intelligence has always come to the help of people with disabilities. One such device is the Blind-Deaf-Dumb (BDD) Assist founded by Rochana HM, a student of II PUC in Bengaluru. The BDD Assist created by this youngster is definitely aims to revolutionise the way blind and deaf people communicate. It will also benefit those with multiple disabilities as well.
BDD Assist will act as a mediator to bridge communication gap for people who are blind and deaf. Various input methods like writing, typing, speech recognition, Braille Keyboard and Sign Language are incorporated into the device. Hence, this will be a blessing to blind and deaf people who do not know Braille or Sign Language because the device will translate everything for them. In fact, the teaching mode of the device teaches Braille and Sign language to users!
Apart from all these features, BDD Assist translates English speech output and texts to various regional languages including Malayalam, Tamil, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Telugu, Hindi and Urdu
The Braille Output is in Unified English Braille whereas American Sign Language (ASL) is used for BDD Assist. Many people think that this is going to be a problem for users who know only Indian Sign Language (ISL).
Amar Jain, a visually impaired corporate lawyer thinks BDD Assist is a good initiative that will enable people with disabilities to become more productive and efficient.
Since BDD Assist caters to people who are both blind and deaf, it is remarkable. Most importantly, it has facilities to translate content to regional languages, something that is of a greater need and an important area to work on. There are many that cater to English and other foreign languages. But there are only few for regional ones because that kind of technology has not really developed so far. Cost of the BDD Assist is also quite reasonable. But the only thought of concern is the use of American Sign Language because most deaf people in India are aware of only the Indian Sign Language. It would be great if the makers can add Indian Sign Language to it as well-Amar Jain, Corporate Lawyer
The Virtual Assistant Mode (VAM) of BSS Assist is also going to be of great help. Reportedly, VAM can easily be activated by using the term Hey assistant and it starts working. It does radio and music streaming, answers general questions and even display digital documents. This can be of immense help to people who are both blind and deaf.
Maitreya Shah, a blind law student, voiced some doubts about how it would work.
“I wonder how the output of communication is going to work here. Most importantly, a blind person really does not need any additional devices to interact with another person because they can talk and communicate. As far as hearing and speech impaired people are concerned, the American Sign Language can become a problem. It is quite complicated for a simple and small piece of technological device”, says Shah.
BDD Assist will be made available at a cost of Rs 6,000 and Rochana is working on creating a patent. If all goes well, BDD Assist will be introduced to the market soon. It can be installed in gadgets like smart phones, computers and even tablets.
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