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Rediff.com  » Getahead » Why shouldn't the blind also enjoy books?

Why shouldn't the blind also enjoy books?

August 08, 2017 14:59 IST

'Hear2Read' -- an open-source Text To Speech (TTS) software that offers audio books in Gujarati, Kannada, Marathi, Punjabi, Tamil and Telugu -- is a first of its kind initiative in the country.

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Books for the visually imapired

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Research scholars and disability experts from the Carnegie Mellon University in the United States, the Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi, and Sriranga Digital Software in Mysore have developed an android App that offers audio books in local languages for the visually impaired.

The developers claim 'Hear2Read' -- an open-source Text To Speech (TTS) software that offers audio books in Gujarati, Kannada, Marathi, Punjabi, Tamil and Telugu -- is a first of its kind initiative in the country.

According to Dr Sagar Mundada, youth wing chairman of the Maharashtra India Medical Association, about 2 per cent of people in India are visually impaired.

"Most of the public and private sector enterprises are not visually impaired friendly though the government recently passed the Persons with Disabilities Act. According to the provisions of the Act, it is binding on enterprises to become disabled friendly which they aren't," Mundada said.

Among the disability experts involved in the Hear2Read project is Homiyar Mobedji, who has earlier made textbooks for the visually impaired in Class 10 to 12 of the state boards of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Himachal Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu, as well as NCERT and NIOS.

Mobedji and Suresh Bazaj of Hear2Read are also winners of the 2017 edition of the prestigious NCPEDP -- Mphasis Universal Design Awards, which recognises work done towards making the lives of persons with disability easier.


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