Signs of progress: Bengaluru students design speech, hearing device

BENGALURU: A group of budding engineers from the city has come up with an innovative method to assist the hearing and speech-impaired people to communicate with others. Team Apollo, a group of students from MVJ College of Engineering (MVJCE) has developed a glove, the Gesture-based Vocaliser, which, when worn can provide the output as text and voice to another, bridging the communication gap.

Embedded with FLEX sensors to identify gestures made by the person wearing it, Devanshu Jha, a final year Electrical and Electronics Engineering Student said ,"The motion generated by the hand gesture is stored and verified in the memory that has been allocated." This is similar to how a scanner works, verifying each character before giving the output, he explained. 

It was a visit to the S.R. Chandrasekhar Institute of Speech and Hearing that inspired them to use their work for the welfare of the community, said the five-member team, which met interacted with Deccan Chronicle on Tuesday.

"Communicating effectively is essential to an independent life and our idea is aimed at helping them do so freely, without having to depend on an interpreter at home, work or anywhere else," they said., "Our pilkot research also showed taht very little was done for people with auditory and speech challenges, in comparison with those who have trouble with mobility. "That was another reason why we decided to stick with this as our area of research," they said. 

The team has already bagged numerous recognitions at various levels. Most recently, they walked away with a cash prize of Rs 1 lakh after placing first at the Pravega Innovation Summit 2018, organised by the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru.

The team is now working on the third revision of the prototype and aspire to hit markets soon with their device. "While our second prototype used webcams to capture and trace the motion of the hand, the third will come fitted with a microprocessor fabricated as a single unit, complete with display units, speakers and a sensor." 

How has this been made convenient to use? The device is designed as a necklace which can be worn by the person with an impairment. It will then provide its output to the next person," said final year ECE student Muhammad Hameem Safwat Hussain. Other members include Abhishek Nanda, Chiragdeep Singh Malhotra and Moinuddim S. The device, which provides its output in English, will be made accessible to a larger cross section by using different languages. It will cost around Rs 6,000 to buy on the market. 

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