Published: 23rd March 2018
Madurai eye hospital and Mindtree Foundation create special app for children with special needs
Now available only in English, in the coming days the application will be able to digitally read and convert text into 23 Indian languages
Two android mobile applications, VIKAS (Visual Intervention Kit with Analytics for Children with Special Needs) and DIGNIϕ (Digital Nethra for Eyes) that are to benefit children with Cognitive Visual Dysfunction (CVD) and visual impairment respectively were launched by Aravind Eye Hospitals, in association with Mindtree Foundation here, on Thursday.
During the launch at Aravind Eye Hospitals here, the Bengaluru-based not-for-profit Mindtree Foundation handed over the two android applications and the indigenously developed gantry kit that comes with DIGNIϕ to the hospital. The applications, designed and developed by Mindtree Foundation over a period of a year and a half, can be downloaded for free from the hospital website.
Dr P Vijayalakshmi, the Chief of Paediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, said that Cognitive Visual Dysfunction (CVD) is caused due to premature birth, brain damage and autism. Due to CVD, children suffer from blurred vision, inability to differentiate colours, and inability to identify in a crowd owing to the brain's inability to process what they visualise. She also pointed that early detection is the key to helping children affected with CVD.
“To help assess and provide children with therapy for CVD as young as two to three years of age, the mobile application VIKAS comes handy. The application which contains various exercises related to shapes, sizes, emotions, colours and visual memory will help the doctors assess the incidence of CVD and help to treat the same through therapy, making use of the exercises,” she said.
The CEO of Mindtree Foundation, Rostow Ravanan said, “The application DIGNIϕ (Dignify) allows visually-challenged persons to read books with the help of the converter software that converts English text into audio format and which can be heard using headphones.”
To make use of DIGNIϕ, a visually-challenged user will have to place a mobile phone on a portable, foldable gantry positioned above the book or any reading material, following which the application will take a screenshot of the page and read out the content in the book.
When asked about the application’s utility at a time when there exist many audio books, Rostow said that the application is useful as not all books have been converted to audio and that it helps the users read any book of their choice.
Further, Rostow noted that steps are underway to make the gantry that is to be used with DIGNIϕ software cost-effective and to get rid of the dependency element where a person is required to help the visually-challenged to turn and fix the pages of the book on the gantry.