whole new world has opened up for visually impaired students, for whom keeping abreast of the latest developments was tough as audio cassettes and Braille books provided by the Blind People's Association (B.P.A.) were just not enough. Now, the Indian Space Research Organisation's (I.S.R.O.'s) EDUSAT project will help students prepare for their goals. The network configuration developed by ISRO will help deliver live audio for blind students and enable the transfer and printing of audio data files with the help of a Braille printer. Data files, which can be referred whenever required, can then be given to the students.
The network functions in two distinct but independent modes -- data broadcast and audio broadcast. In data mode, the sender's (or teacher) instructions are automatically stored in a file at each and every receiving unit (or a classroom) through the User Datagram Protocol (U.D.P.) mode. While in audio mode, live audio instructions are transmitted to the students.
"Till now, students had no other option except books and audio cassettes, contents of which have never been updated. With the EDUSAT project, we will be able to provide the latest information on any topic via audio and printed format to the students,'' said
Jassubhai Kavi of B.P.A. He added, ''Even classroom lectures can be recorded as audio data files which can be transmitted later.'' Faculty at BPA have welcomed the initiative.
He said, ''Students in the State (that is, Gujarat) will be greatly benefited as many professors and experts from across the globe come to B.P.A. for lectures. The network will help transmission of these lectures.''
Mr. Kavi further added, ''Talks on several issues are regularly conducted at Ahmedabad Management Association and other institutes. We can record them and later send them across to students through EDUSAT. The audio medium in particular is a boon for blind students.''
For the initial phase, I.S.R.O. has set up one transmitting end at B.P.A. Vastrapur and 10 receiving ends across similar institutes in Bhavnagar, Jamnagar, Sayla and other places. The network was inaugurated on August 30. In the second and final phase, 15 more institutes will be connected through this transmitting end.
EDUSAT is primarily meant for providing connectivity to schools, colleges, and higher levels of education as well as to support non-formal education.
"It's new and unique. It would be of immense benefit for students in terms of obtaining computer education,'' said I.S.R.O.'s Development Education and Communication Unit Director B.S. Bhatia. ''It took us about three months to conceptualise and connect institutes.''