Often, children with special needs are unable to effectively communicate their needs to parents and caretakers. Parents and caretakers find it difficult to understand what their child is trying to convey. Multiple research studies have shown that assistive technologies, like a Smartphone, can help children with cognitive disorders to communicate basic needs.
To help bridge this communication gap, Student Members from IEEE Hyderabad Section will be developing a software for Smartphones which enable cognitively disabled children to convey their needs with a single touch. Installed on a touch based smartphone, the program will display visual icons for various daily needs and emotions, such as hunger, pain, etc. The visual representations will make it easier for the child to choose the right icon. Once an option is selected, the need will be conveyed by a recorded voice (in the local language) and a text message will be sent to the parent or caretaker.
Engineering students will be developing the software, with help from high schools in Hyderabad. Computer science oriented students from these schools will work with the university students on design and programming, in order to get more experience in the life cycle of software development and basic programming. More importantly, the students get to work on the end to end development of a product that solves a real world need and which has an immediate social impact. The project will be coordinated by IEEE GOLD volunteers, including project management, tracking and regular meetings with the student team.
The student team and GOLD volunteers will venture to the homes of children with cognitive disorders in order to assess the basic demands and functions of the program. Once an initial prototype is completed, the project’s partner non-profit organization, KDB Trust, will test the Smartphone. The device will be sold at a low cost (and at no profit) to make it more available for rural households.