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Modality of Sensation

Vikram Dubal puts his technical mind to making devices that help make the lives of hearing impaired and visually challenged children easier while also igniting their imagination

Written by Sneha Dey | Published: September 2, 2013 1:23 am

A courtship of sleepless nights and immeasurable dedication gave birth to a device that could be a saviour for the hearing impaired. A battery-operated device capable of alarming the user of the surrounding environment through changes in light pattern or vibrations,the Artificial Intelligence Kit seeks to open new avenues for the challenged.

Designed by city-based software engineer Vikram Dubal,the device is interfaced with a microcontroller or a computer and could be attached to household appliances,doorbells,water storage tanks and vehicles to alert about rain,temperature rise,overflowing of water and even theft. “It took me almost two years to complete the kit,” says Dubal,adding,“This piece of work is the sheer outcome of years of research and understanding the basic requirements of children with hearing disability to make their lives simpler.”

According to Dubal,the hearing impaired children are blessed with hyper-sensitive sensory organs of touch and sight keeping them more active than regular people. “I have just incorporated these applications into day to day objects,allowing them to operate technology independently,” he says.

Dubal demonstrates one of the projects from the Artificial Intelligence Kit,in which a bulb at one end of the device turns on when sound waves from a source hits the microphone set at the other end and then turns off gradually as the sound fades away. He explains to that his students immediately get excited seeing the light flickering and express their feeling through clapping of the hands. “I have named this project Dance To The Tune,and have taught my students to dance and clap each time the bulb glows and changes colour,” mentions the 41-year-old.

Another project called the Rain Alarm will alert the user of rain either through continuous vibrations or lighting effects fitted inside the house. “The moment the device detects rainwater,it will pass the signals to the alarm through wires which will then produce vibrations for the hearing impaired to understand,” explains Dubal. There are 108 more projects in the kit including Remote Call Bell,Flora Care Taker,Over Temperature Alarm,Water Sensor and Auto-Glass Refiller.

The IT professional does not just cater to the hearing impaired. Through more than seven years of research Dubal created some other projects that he likes to call “toys” for the visually challenged. One of the most interesting toy being pocket Braille calendar,which is probably an inch or two longer than a matchbox,has trained over 50 blind students on how to use the calendar. “But the technique of getting the right date involves conditioning of the brain to adapt to the training procedure,” he says.

Another project involves improving the Mathematical skills of blind students through roller dice. The Braille dots on the dice will eventually help the visually impaired with efficient and accurate calculations,also enhancing their power of imagination. “These children have the same enthusiasm and curiosity as other kids. All they need is a little push to explore new things and gain confidence,” he says.

The success stories of his projects have not made Dubal consider selling the ideas to multinational companies or foreign universities. “I have not made these projects for the authorities. Till the time my work is proving beneficial to my students,I don’t see the need of earning profit through them. I am not being generous man but my ideologies differ when it comes to work and my students” says Dubal.

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