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PDPU alumni, students develop hand-held device for blind

Thu, 10/12/2017 - 10:31 -- geeta.nair

AHMEDABAD: When in an unknown or a less-known space, visually-impaired people live under constant fear of colliding with something or tripping over. To make life easier for them, a startup founded by an alumnus of Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University (PDPU), developed a hand-held assistive deviceknown as 'Saarthi' that will help visually-impaired people to identify the proximity of obstacles or moving or stationery objects, as they move in an unknown space.

Explaining how it works, Kshitij Shah, a second year student of liberal studies at PDPU, said, "The device is based on SONAR technology and will vibrate in a certain pattern and intensity considering the proximity of the object. It will have different patterns of vibrations for non-living objects, humans, stationery or moving objects that will help those visually impaired."

In fact, BPA is working towards raising donations so that the device can be purchased and donated to the visually impaired in need.

"It works in three modes: 0-2 feet range which alerts about any objects in vicinity and is useful for indoor environments. Similarly, there are two other modes - 2-4 feet and 4-8 feet range useful for outdoor environments such as parks or gardens and crossing a street, respectively," said Hunny Bhagchandani, founder of the startup. The startup managed by the group of alumni and students of PDPU is being funded by the state government's startup programme.

Saarthi will be officially launched on Thursday to mark the 'World Sight Day' at a ceremony organized at Blind People's Association (BPA). "The device is indeed a useful one for the visually impaired. The trials of the product have been conducted with visually impaired people at BPA itself. Some 50 devices will be donated by the startup to BPA after the launch on Monday," said Bhushan Punani, executive secretary, BPA.

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