Visually impaired, hearing impaired and speech impaired persons now have help in hand by way of a novel device — BDD (Blind-Deaf-Dumb) Assist.
The device has been developed by Rochana HM, a student of II PUC at AMC College here and he has filed for patent for it.
Individuals with disabilities such as visual, auditory, or speech impairments has difficulty in communicating as others have limited or no knowledge of Braille and sign language. BDD Assist is a low-cost portable device which aims to solve this problem by acting as a mediator to bridge this communication gap and reduce the dependence on expert human translators.
The input methods incorporated into BDD Assist include typing, writing, speech recognition, Braille keyboard, and sign language.The output methods include Braille, sign language, text, and speech.
While Braille output is given according to the Unified English Braille (UEB) standard, the sign language output is given according to the American Sign Language (ASL) standard.
Son of Madhusudhana HS and Chandrika HG, Rochana has a keen interest in programming and robotics. The speech output and text he has developed can be translated from English and displayed in Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu and some foreign languages.
In addition, BDD Assist comes with another mode – a virtual assistant with a host of features, which aims to make life easier for the disabled. The virtual assistant mode can be activated with a custom wake word like “Hey Assistant”. It can answer general questions, apart from handling a host of other custom functions, including control of IoT devices such as smart lights and smart plugs, radio streaming, and music streaming. It can also display digital documents through these output methods.
BDD Assist also consists of a teaching mode, which teaches Braille and Sign Language to people who might be unfamiliar with it.
Until now, there has been no one integrated solution which caters to all the three disabilities. This low-cost device, being made at a cost of ₹6,000, can be easily set up on any smartphone, tablet, or computer.
Rochana’s work with his professor K Venkatesh to develop an obstacle-detecting smart cane for the visually impaired inspired him to develop BDD Assist.