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IIT Delhi's NCAHT Launches Assistive Technology Products for Visually Challenged

Written by : Aishwarya Sarthe

June 26, 2024

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NCAHT introduced Shapescapes, a geometry learning kit; high-quality white canes; and an accessible kit for STEM education. 

The National Centre for Assistive Health Technologies (NCAHT) at IIT Delhi, supported by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), unveiled several assistive technology products for the visually challenged on June 25, 2024.

NCAHT's range of products includes Shapescapes, a geometry learning kit; high-quality white canes; and an accessible kit for STEM education.

Commenting on the same, Dr Rajiv Bahl, director general of ICMR, said, "These solutions are vital for addressing the unmet needs of the visually challenged community.”

NCAHT’s Latest Product Range

NCAHT introduced Shapescapes, a geometry learning kit designed to help visually challenged students understand geometric concepts. It is a low-cost, DIY tool adhering to universal design principles, usable by sighted, low-vision, and visually challenged students.

The Accessible Kit for STEM Education addresses challenges in learning electronics. It includes inclusive models with embossed symbols and real components and a self-learning book with tactile diagrams, large print, and Braille. Both products will be manufactured by the Raised Lines Foundation, a not-for-profit social enterprise from IIT Delhi.

According to Kenstel Communications, the new white canes, developed in collaboration with IIT Delhi, meet international standards and resolve issues in locally manufactured canes. 

"The white cane is essential for independent and safe mobility for visually challenged individuals," stated Dr Bahl. 

Other products include SmartCane, an electronic travel aid co-developed by IIT Delhi, Phoenix Medical Systems, and Saksham Trust with funding from the Wellcome Trust, which is used by around 150,000 people globally. 

Additionally, large-scale user trials of SmartCane Version 2 and a refreshable Braille display, Tacread, were announced. These products, co-created with Saksham Trust, aim to improve visually challenged individuals' independent mobility and education.

Tacread, another product, is the new refreshable Braille display. It was developed by the Assistech Lab at IIT Delhi in collaboration with Phoenix Medical Systems and Saksham Trust. This low-cost device enables visually challenged users to read digital text in Braille. 

Sharing insights, Prof Banerjee, director of IIT Delhi, said, "This advancement enables access to any book in Braille format from Sugmya Pustakalaya." Furthermore, large-scale user trials for Tacread are currently underway.

With this technology, a visually challenged person, for example, can access any book in Braille format from Sugmya Pustakalaya.


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