Category : E-Inclusion

Affordable, Indigenous Assistive Technologies for People with Disabilities

Through this initiative, the MindTree Foundation aims to develop and disseminate assistive technologies to address the needs of people with different types of disabilities – muscular, visual, hearing, mental and learning. Aware of the benefits that technology can deliver to people with disabilities, MindTree is in the process of adding final touches to several devices that can enable the differentlyabled to interact better with their environment. The first of these is KAVI, a device that will assist persons with severe speech impairment to communicate with ease. The primary audience for this will be individuals with Cerebral Palsy, which is a motor disability that severely limits control over limbs and speech. The application software allows the selection of one letter or image at a time, strings them together to form words, and uses text-to-speech conversion to generate audio output. The second is ADITI (Analog Digital Theremin Interface), an input device to a computer developed to enable people with severe muscular skeletal disorders – Cerebral Palsy, Arthritis etc – to access computers more easily.

In India, the concept of Assistive Technologies has been limited to mostly hearing aids, prosthetics and wheelchairs. More sophisticated technology is needed to help a person with special needs to perform many of the tasks required to function independently, communicate and be productive in today’s world. Apart from the cost related issues, there are also issues of availability, training, localization, servicing etc- even for those who can afford them. Currently, it is not possible for international makers to either sell their current devices at the required price points or invest in research to make devices targeted towards Indian needs. Hence, there is a great need for developing affordable and indigenous technologies. MindTree’s innovations avoid cost scalations, localise graphics and accents and have a high level of reliability and stability.







FINO Technology Solutions

FINO, short for Financial Information Network and Operations, is working to provide technological solutions in banking and insurance to the unbanked rural people of India, bringing a remarkable change in their lives and financial habits. On the other end, FINO offers end-to-end IT solutions and business correspondent services to help banks reach underserved rural banking markets in India. FINO is committed to providing a standardized, pan-Indian infrastructure that will link clients and financial service providers such as banks, microfinance institutions, insurance companies and government entities, reducing costs of client acquisition and servicing across the value chain while ensuring that the basic premise of door step delivery to rural customers remains intact. With an army of 10,000 agents or bandhus, FINO reaches clients in 21 States, 266 districts and 100,000 villages across the country. FINO is currently acquiring incrementally over 50,000 customers per day. By 2011, FINO aims to reach 25 million customers through its vast bouquet of services and products.

Rural India has approximately 500 million people who, until now, have had limited access to traditional banking services simply because most commercial banks found it too uneconomical to serve them. These people live in 600,000 odd villages across India’s vast terrain and are in the market for banking products that are typically a hundredth the size of a banking product in the United States or Europe and at a tenth the size and cost of a product in urban India. Micro-finance and development-credit institutions have largely catered to the needs of the people without bank access so far — but these have remained largely local, grassroots efforts hampered by their lack of access to technological resources. It is against this backdrop that FINO decided to explore the possibility of delivering value, to this largely under-served market in need of financial products and services.









Ability is a unique communication tool which aims to ease the difficulties faced everyday by differently-abled persons while communicating. It does away with the lack of local, custom-built technologies which can provide equal opportunities to interact to people living with sensory impairments. The software, developed by Willager, converts typed English text into sign language, allowing differently-abled persons to receive and comprehend instructions easily. The software can translate text into both onehanded sign language, used in the US, and twohanded sign language, prevalent in India and the UK. Besides targeting persons with disabilities, the application can also be used as a teaching tool for their relatives and friends and others interested in learning the sign language. Ability can promote independent communication for persons who are hearing impaired or experience communication challenges by allowing effective two-way communication to occur in as natural an environment as possible.

In India, there is a severe lack of recognition of sign language, lack of bilingual education and there is very limited availability of sign language interpreting services. The widespread lack of awareness and knowledge about the situation of deaf people deprives most of them access to large sections of society. As a result, they are not able to truly enjoy even the basic human rights. Better integration of persons with disabilities into society will only be possible if sign-language communication was made widely available. If this is done, the access of the differently-abled to public services, commercial transactions and entertainment, learning and leisure opportunities will improve drastically.

The Ability application has the potential to make this possible by providing a sign-language synthesis solution for the sensory impaired. It can provide users with unparalleled opportunities in classroom, business and everyday environments.








DAISY for All


An initiative of Youth Power in Social Action (YPSA), the DAISY for All project has been playing a key role in serving people with print disabilities, including blindness,  impaired vision, dyslexia or other issues, in Bangladesh. DAISY stands for Digital Accessible Information System and the DAISY Consortium (an international association) develops, maintains and promotes international DAISY Standards. DAISY digital format assists people who, for various reasons, have challenges using regular printed media. Affliated to the DAISY Consortium, YPSA through digital talking books offer the benefits of regular audiobooks to these differently-abled users. Digital talking books allow users to hear and navigate written material presented in an audible format.

DAISY for All has already created 155 digital talking books on various subjects, which were not available to such users previously. More than 20 organizations and 500 visually challenged students has become member of this centre.


Around 4 million people in Bangladesh are visually challenged and a high percentage of these visually-impaired are now studying at schools and universities. There is a severe lack of adequate study materials and books for them both in market as well as in libraries. Moreover, no comprehensive strategy has been formulated yet by the government with regard to this issue.

Books and lectures are a basic study materials used by students but there is severe shortage of these in the format which would be useful for such students. This situation does not allow the print disabled and visually challenged students to complete on fair terms. However, there are a number of technical advancements all over the globe that can provide these people with study materials in accessible information system formats. DAISY for All is working to create an environment where people with print disabilities have equal access to information and knowledge, without delay or additional expense.

Original Title : DAISY (Digital Accessible Information System) for All

Producer : Young Power in Social Action (YPSA) ICT Resource Centre

Location : Chittagong, BANGLADESH

Media Format : CD/DVD

Language : English and Bangla

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