It is often said that eyes are windows to the world. We understand our world, its richness, its exquisite sights, the threats around us, etc with our eyes. Now, imagine this; a world of darkness, a perpetual fog where you can see little or nothing at all. While this might be a terrifying thought for some of us, this is the reality for a staggeringly large amount of people. According to a 2017 report by the World Health Organization, 36 million of the world’s population are blind and 217 million have moderate to severe vision impairment. They do love reading but suffer from a limited set of resources available in Braille. A newspaper made in Braille comes out once every fortnight. What about those who want to ‘read’ the newspaper every day?
Well, that’s where Gursimran Singh comes in.
As students, we are all taught about science – laws of motion, thermodynamics, relativity, e=mc2, etc, etc. Most of us learn it by rote for the exams and then conveniently store it somewhere in the corners of our mind, rarely using our scientific knowledge for a practical purpose. Not all of us though. Some think of some revolutionary innovations; things that drastically improve a fellow human being’s quality of life. Gursimran Singh is one such young innovator.
A class 12 student from Amity International School, Gurugram decided to empower the visually-impaired with the joy of reading. Inspired by his grandfather’s brother’s difficulty with reading owing to his becoming visually impaired, Gursimran was driven to create a device simply known as ‘The Eyescribe’.
It is said that when you lose one sense, your other senses become sharper. With the visually impaired, they generally develop extremely keen hearing. Using this thought, the then 16-year old innovator created the device which captures an image and then converts it into an audio output. The device captures an image using a camera which is attached to the frame and then uses a text to speech program to convert it into sound. The process also includes an optical character recognition and a machine learning algorithm for corrections.
A device that brings books alive…wow.
While there is an abundance of Braille devices out in the market today, the ‘Eyescribe’ stands out as it sort of nullifies the use of Braille entirely. The device dictates the text as is, meaning that it does not need to be in Braille to begin with. This ensures that the visually impaired have access to a larger library of resources as not everything has Braille versions yet.
When it is connected to a smartphone the translation of the text can occur in different languages. Gursimran has made sure that the device is technologically advanced and modern, breaking all the barriers for the blind.
Gursimran was the National Winner of the 2017 Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards. He was invited for the International PSCA honour to Washington D.C. as well. A grant of ₹20 lakh by the NITI Aayog for product development in commercial use was given for the device.
Today, he is preparing to take Eyescribe through the ‘Assistance to Disabled Persons for Purchase/Fitting of Aids and Appliance’ scheme to make sure that the device reaches out to the world.
The Knowledge Tribe salutes this ‘Visionary’ young innovator!