Foundation Projects

Smart Phones for the Deaf Blind

Bidirectional Access Promotion Society of India (BAPSI)

Bapsi, as part of its mandate to develop technology for persons with multiple disabilities, came up with a USD 50 communicator for the deaf-blind, a significant improvement over the previous technology costing around USD 2,500. The new communicator used Morse code via vibration, whereas the earlier solution used Braille.

This project sought to familiarize the deaf-blind and their caregivers with the new technology, to provide training in its use, to better understand the needs of the deaf-blind, to develop and test appropriate software for them, and to encourage other relevant organizations to pay attention to this neglected area. Since our communicator only worked for the deaf-blind who could already read and write, a tiny minority, we decided to develop two apps for the preliterate, a slate and a game. For a trainer who is deaf, does not speak and has low vision, we developed a series of three apps of increasing complexity, based on the feedback provided. We trained students in app development, and helped two to take up a project related to the deaf-blind. We were able to make presentations at major international fora in attempting to steer future technology development towards the use of haptics.