Students from Shri Vishnu Engineering College for Women, Bhimavaram, within the IEEE Bangalore Section in India, will be working on their project “Learning Aids For Visually Challenged" throughout 2013.
The project “Learning Aids for the Visually Challenged” incorporates a tactile graphic system which can identify the shape of a structure, whether it be a machine, an animal, or an everyday object, to a blind user. While maps of continents and countries, city maps, and building layouts are the most obvious uses for tactile graphics, the educational potential hidden in raised lines and textures goes far beyond such displays, such geometric figures, cross sections of single cells and of whole living organisms, machines, graphs and diagrams of everyday objects, plants and animals, etc.
Many programs have been developed that help blind users navigate digital maps via audio. However, these devices are available abroad and are not available for users in India. Most of these devices are useful for foreign locations and map identifications and do not include Indian states or cities in them. Therefore, there is a need for a low-cost tactile graphic-based learning system juxtaposed with audio signals to help teach blind children about accessing India.
University students from Shri Vishnu Engineering College for Women, Bhimavaram, will collaborate with students from Vishnu public school, who will help the secondary school students to learn how to make the tactile graphics of the diagrams and pictures present in their curriculum. They will also be taught the principle behind making the project and involve them in every step of the project’s progress. The project will be worked on for those at the nonprofit group Center for Visually Challenged.
The “Learning Aids for the Visually Challenged” project includes tactile graphics of different states in India, flower parts, body parts, life cycles of different animals, and other educational topics. This low-cost device would be useful for blind students to learn their courses more dexterously. Previous prototypes of the “Learning Aids for Visually Challenged” have been developed and were successfully tested for validation under ideal conditions in a lab. A form of this learning aid “Map Identifier” was donated to blind students of “Center Visually Challenged” at Bhimavaram, to be used in classroom settings.