A Class IX student from Nagpur is among 12 outstanding pre-college innovators from India who have been invited to showcase their innovations at the Intel International Science Engineering Fair to be held at Pittsburgh in the US from May 10.
Aditya Bhople from Narayana Vidyalay has developed a device called Autoreader that can identify and read any text for a visually impaired person. According to Aditya, this could be one-of-a-kind device in the world.
“There are some devices that need a constant power supply and are immobile. Mine is a wearable device which runs on a lithium battery, helping the user to be mobile and use it anywhere he goes,” he says.
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The band-like device is fitted with a camera in the front and a processing unit at the back and can be worn on the head. The camera captures the images in the front while the processing unit distinguishes the textual matter from other things and reads it out for the user.
Says Aditya: “I have been following electronics ever since I was in Class II. There are 285 million visually impaired people in the world, with 90 per cent of them so poor that they can’t afford assisting devices costing thousands of dollars. Last year, I thought I would make a reading device for them, which is not available at this point of time. Working on it since June 2014, I have been able to make one in a few months and was chosen among the 12 finalists from over 90 entries from across the country.” Aditya developed the device at a cost of Rs 20,000, but says it could cost less than Rs 5,000 if manufactured on a large scale.
Aditya has applied for a patent at the Nagpur patent office and is hoping to get it for the Autoreader soon.
Explaining how the device works, he says, “I have employed what is known as text algorithm in my processing unit to extract only the text in front of the camera. It is preceded by identification of letters by what is known as visual processing algorithm. The text, thus isolated by these processes from the details of the image captured by the camera, is then converted into speech by text-to-speech engine.”
Aditya acknowledges that his device is currently able to read text with a font size of only 22 points and above. “I am working on it further to enable to read fine print,” he adds.
The advantage of Aditya’s device is that it does not require internet connection for text-to-speech synthesis. Aditya learnt C programming as early as in Class IV, quickly graduating to JAVA and BASH. He was encouraged and help by his uncle Sunil Khajone, a senior design engineer with Qualcomm in the US.