The days of the visually challenged groping their way with the aid of white canes may soon be over.
Thanks to an invention by an assistant professor in the city, blind people, especially children, can now travel alone in complete safety without any escort. Called the Virtual Eye, this wireless device helps a blind person navigate from point A to point B using voice guidance.
“This device is meant for visually challenged children ,” said B Amutha, the inventor of the virtual eye. An assistant professor and PhD scholar in computer science and engineering at SRM University , 46-year-old Amutha’s invention is a giant leap on the GPS navigation system used in cars. “I built it as a part of my project for my PhD under the guidance of the university’s vice-chancellor , Dr M Ponnavaikko.”
Now all that a child has to do is program the device to take him/her from home to school, said Amutha. “Then the device, which is stuck on the child’s belt, will issue instructions in a human voice – turn left, take fifteen steps, turn right and take 5 steps and so on. It will also issue a warning if there is a wall or a moving vehicle in front of the person.”
The device uses GPS technology for tracking, GPRS for navigation and sonar rays will detect obstacles in the path of the person. Her invention has brought her to the attention of the state government , which is impressed by the invention. “We have recommended her name to the central government for a special initiative award,” said an official in the secretariat . “She will soon go to Delhi to demonstrate her invention .”
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