Department of Electronics, All India Institute of Speech and Hearing, Mysuru, in collaboration with IEEE special interest group on communication disability, organized an assistive technology hackathon recently.
Dr K G Satheesh Kumar, Director, Centre for Assistive Technology and Innovation, National Institute of Speech and Hearing, Trivandrum inaugurated the program. In his keynote address, Dr Kumar said that the changing social and legal environment in the world and in our country has brightened the prospects efforts. He pointed out that currently most of the AT products are imported and costs are high. “With the development of a domestic market for AT products, it is expected that innovation and technology development can lead to better and of better quality of life and opportunities for persons with disability (PwD).”
He added that on the one side the society is being made increasingly conscious of the rights of persons with disabilities, and on the other, assistive technology is improving fast to enable the PwD lead more fulfilling lives pursuing education, career, sports, and recreation of their choice. “This is a long-drawn journey and it has begun in India also. We have many hurdles ahead of us and hence we need a strategy to deal with them. Our leading institutions of research and education including AIISH, Mysuru have produced several useful assistive technologies and are continuing their good work, but we have challenges in reaching them to the end-users.”
Harish Mysore, Director, IEEE India Operations in his address mentioned that IEEE is keen to continue its collaboration with AIISH to see that, the technology developed are really transforming the life of persons with disability.
Dr. S.R. Savithri, Director, AIISH, in her presidential address stressed upon the need for collaborative work in this area. She said that AIISH had developed several technologies in the past through such collaborations and hoped that, this program will trigger many such collaborations which will be a boon to the considerable number of persons with disability. She also highlighted the works done by Panini & Bruhtuhari and added that, their efforts need to be taken forward.
Dr. Ajish K Abraham, Professor of AIISH and Co-ordinator of the hackathon informed that about 150 final year B. Tech. students from Electronics and Communication / Electrical and Electronics / Tele-communication / Applied Electronics and Instrumentation / Computer Science and Engineering branches representing all engineering colleges in the city participated in this hackathon.