In Bengaluru's Central Library, new device helps visually challenged read books in 8 languages

Plugged into a regular wall socket of the Central Library, the device works without the need for an internet connection
Last Updated : 04 September 2022, 13:56 IST

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The Central Library in Cubbon Park has become inclusive by catering to the visually impaired persons by installing a device which can scan books and read them aloud.

URead, the standalone device, can scan books and other printed documents of up to A4 size. It recognises seven Indian languages, including Kannada, Marathi and Tamil, besides English and reads them out.

Vinod Deshmukh, former president (R&D) at Mindtree, who worked with S N Padmanabhan and Janaki Raman to develop URead, said the device has a major role to play in the Indian society where Braille literacy rate was in single digits.

“Braille is a difficult script to learn and the population of visually challenged people in the country is 92 lakh. Our device is aimed at enabling visually challenged persons to overcome the learning barrier. At the same time, the device helps in overcoming the lack of braille books in higher education,” he said.

Plugged into a regular wall socket of the library, the device works without the need for an internet connection.

Rotary Club of Bangalore West, which sponsored the device, aims to distribute it to blind schools across the state. “We have installed devices at Malleshwaram and Central Library and are happy with the outcome. We are now planning to distribute about 500 of them to the needy in phases. Besides libraries, we will start installing them at the schools for the visually impaired,” said Naagheash Sridharamurthy, president of the club.

Deshmukh said the cost of the device was about Rs 30,000. “We realise that the cost is on the upper side for individual buyers. Hopefully corporate social responsibility or government schemes will help in taking it to the wider society,” he said.

Naagheash said he was reaching out to 160 clubs in the south zone to help take the device to rural areas. “Devices that perform without internet connectivity is important for rural areas, where children are less likely to get the help of a person in reading or learning braille,” he added.

Published 04 September 2022, 13:56 IST

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