Cochlear ear implants have vastly improved the lives of the severely hearing impaired people by allowing them to understand speech in a quiet environment. Experts said that understanding speech in an environment with background noise is challenging and people with cochlear implants in particular have difficulty detecting pitch and timbre, which are crucial components in being able to understand music and speech with background noise. Accordingly, Ramprasad Sedouram, a final-year student of Industrial Design Centre (IDC) at IIT Bombay, is developing a mobile phone application or game to help children with cochlear implants.
“Those with cochlear implants can hear but cannot differentiate between two musical notes. If they get musical training, they can improve themselves. But since individual attention is difficult, we are designing a game with various levels, to help children improve their pitch and timbre perception through a combination of listening and singing exercises The first level helps them understand two musical notes and more, in the second level, they need to sing a melody and differentiate high and low pitches. In the most advanced level, one can also compose their own tunes. I was sent to the National University of Singapore, where I did the design interface and they helped in coding. The project took five months to develop,” said Sedouram.
Though the game is intended to serve users with hearing impairment, it can also benefit other users, like the tone-deaf. “The solution also aims to be suitable for communicating the individual’s progress to speech therapists, teachers and parents by making it easier for them to participate,” he added. His project will be part of IDC’s annual design degree show which will feature works of 57 students.
Yet another game designed by Vishnupriya Kaulgud and targeted at mobile phone and tablet users, is aimed at teaching various Indian scripts to children, and even adults, in a fun way. “India has 22 official languages, 13 official scripts, in which nine are major. But we can hardly recognise each script. So, I decided to design a touch-base application game to recognise Gujarati script for children and the same can be adapted to other language scripts. It’s sound-based. There are Devanagari and Gujarati letters and in the first level, one has to match on the basis of sound. In the next level, one has to choose or recognise a letter. We are currently coding it for Android and Apple phone,” she said.
Students have also looked at transport solutions. While Shweta Kamble has designed a bus transit map which will explain routes, and focuses on 20 major stations of Pune city to provide the best possible service to the maximum people within the governing economic constraints. Harish Kumar P has designed a medical first responder vehicle” “It can carry all the necessary equipments and paramedics to reach a destination as soon as possible and give pre-medical care. It aims at resource saving, improving response time, accessing incident’s severity and first aid. I looked at current small cars and zeroed in on Reva. While the exterior remains the same, the interior layout will be as per my specifications and depending on the local fabricator, it will cost between Rs 2 to 3 lakh. While I have tested it in Chennai, it is definitely feasible for Mumbai or any city with considerable road and traffic condition,” said Harish.
Commissioned by the Indian Railways, Siddhartha Mukherjee has designed a ventilation system for sleeper coaches. Looking at existing ventilation strategies, he has developed a roof ventilation system with air coolers and air blowers with air filler in them.
According to Mukherjee, the estimated installation cost of the “evaporative cooler” will be half of that of an air conditioner, the operation cost will be one-eighth of that of an AC. “I have also developed a chullah for rural India to enable smokeless cooking. It can be hand-made and runs on rice husk. The tests were done with the local chaiwalla at IIT Bombay. In my design, the outer cylinder stores fuel, the inner acts as a combustion centre, so when you touch it, your hand doesn’t get burnt,” he said.